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History

The spread of automobiles in 1970's made it easier to access natural parks, including national parks. Increases of incomes and leisure time further enhanced the use of parks. This was good on one hand, but on the other hand, gave negative effect on the maintenance of park facilities due to excessive use and environmental pollution caused by garbage, thus aggravating the park environment, which had to be kept clean and comfortable. Even the very quality of nature inherent to natural parks has been damaged.

In an attempt to address these problems the Nature Conservation Council submitted recommendations to the Ministry of the Environment responsible for management of natural parks, proposing "it should be considered that a part of the expenses required for the management and maintenance of natural parks needs to be paid by the visitors, based on the idea that the natural parks, as precious national assets, should be conserved not only by public organizations but also by the participation and cooperation of the broader public." Responding to this recommendation, the Ministry of the Environment studied the idea of burden-sharing by visitors in the form of entrance fees and the like. The conclusion was that it would be easier for the public to accept the cooperation funds payable upon using the facilities in the parks. Thus, the Ministry decided that parking lots and camping sites within parks would be the appropriate places to collect fees from visitors.

As it was considered desirable that the operational organization to manage and maintain natural parks with such funds would be a public corporation, the Natural Parks Beautification & Management Foundation was founded with approval of the Prime Minister on June 29, 1979.

The Foundation promotes beautification of the natural parks and appropriate maintenance and management of facilities. It was established with the goal of contributing to the proper use of parks based on a hospitable use of the environment and maintaining clean natural parks. Because of the contents of these projects, the name "Natural Parks Beautification & Management Foundation" was decided.

Currently, the need of park users is trending toward various activities that can have contact with nature and can experience nature. This Foundation now has an increased responsibility to provide information to natural park users, implement activities to connect with nature, and support volunteer activities. To cope with this type of change in social conditions and to implement a variety of administrative work for natural parks, the Foundation was renamed the "Natural Parks Foundation" on July 1, 2002, so that the name accurately reflects the content of the Foundation's operations.