Or better yet, put many national parks in your new year! As you ponder your adventures for 2014, think about how you can include your national parks. And then tell us what you’ve got in mind! People from across the country and around the world have been sharing their national park New Year’s resolutions with us and we want to hear from you too. If you need some inspiration, here are a few ideas for every season:

Take advantage of the fee-free days in your national parks over Presidents Day weekend. Explore a park you’ve never visited before, experience a moment in history where it actually happened, enjoy a great conversation with a ranger, or do all three!

Encourage kids to explore and learn about their national parks by becoming a Junior Ranger.

Round up your friends and family and head to the theatre for the premiere of DisneyNature’s BEARS! See the film during opening week (April 18-24, 2014), and the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund will make a contribution to the National Park Foundation!

Kick off National Park Week with fee-free days on April 19 and 20! Join us in celebrating our shared love of America’s national parks.

Watch “Sesame Street Explores National Parks” and then visit a national park with your kids!

Experience our American Latino Heritage Fund’s 2013 @American_Latino Expedition and get ready for this year’s adventure!

Plan a trip to a lesser-known park and uncover all it has to offer. Download “The Places Nobody Knows” for helpful tips and ideas!

Give back to the parks that give you so much and volunteer at a park near you.

Share your national park photos and stories with us on our website and on Facebook and Twitter. We love to hear from you!

Help protect and preserve the national parks that you love by supporting the National Park Foundation.

Remembering MLK Jr. Mark Your Calendars 2013 Programs in Review

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On January 20, the nation celebrated the birthday, life, and legacy of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Through his conviction, dedication to justice, and message of love, Dr. King showed the nation a pathway to peace and equality for all. His teachings and advocacy are forever ingrained in our national conscious, immortalized in our history and shared in our national parks.

Dr. King’s memory is honored annually through days of service, visits to national parks that celebrate his pivotal role in transforming our nation, and more. Visitors can travel to African American Experience Fund sites such as the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail to pay tribute to his legacy. Also, we invite you to join us at www.WeAreStillMarching.com and engage with Dr. King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech which he delivered to hundreds of thousands of people from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. Not only can you read his words and connect with the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom – you can become part of an incredibly meaningful audio mosaic online by recording yourself saying Dr. King’s words. 

Save the Date: 2014 Fee-Free Days

Get your calendars ready! America’s national parks are offering free admission to all visitors on nine days in 2014. (One fee-free day was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and eight fee-free days still remain!) Make it an unforgettable year and plan a few adventures with your friends and family.

Whether you plan to visit old favorites, or set out to experience new sites, we can help you find a park that matches your interests. Do you need ideas on where to go and what to do once you’re there? Our free online "Owner’s Guides" are full of great ideas and unique tips!

Save the dates:

February 15-17, 2014 – Presidents Day weekend
April 19-20, 2014 – Opening weekend of National Park Week
August 25, 2014 – National Park Service birthday
September 27, 2014 – National Public Lands Day
November 11, 2014 – Veterans Day

Be sure to share your favorite photos and memories with us on Facebook and Twitter!

2013 Programs in Review

2013 was a year of fun and exploration for the National Park Foundation! Thousands of students, teachers, and families participated in everything from working in a national park for the summer, to camping on a weekend adventure, to engaging in natural, cultural, and historical activities during a school field trip. We are truly excited about the work we accomplished in 2013 and look forward to connecting even more Americans to their national parks in the year ahead.

The Park Stewards teacher for Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont was awarded the 2013 Outstanding Biology Teacher; and two Park Stewards interns from Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are headed to the National Junior Science Humanities Symposium in April 2014 to present the research they conducted at the park.

Ticket to Ride funded transportation for nearly 70,000 students to visit their local national parks from Appomattox Court House National Historical Park in Virginia to National Park of American Samoa.

America’s Best Idea brought a group of students from Las Vegas to Zion National Park to learn about watersheds and petroglyphs and to experience camping and wilderness hiking for the first time. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area engaged Navajo youth and their families in healthy activities through an overnight raft trip down the Colorado River as part of our Active Trails program. And this is just the start!

We are so proud of the accomplishments we achieved with our amazing partners at the National Park Service. To help support programs like this visit www.nationalparks.org/support-parks.


What Your Support Means to the National Park Foundation

The end of the year is a natural time to look back from where we’ve come, while looking forward to the new year ahead. Almost a century ago, private citizens from all walks of life took action to establish and protect our national parks, and thanks to supporters and friends like you, that legacy continues today. With your support, the National Park Foundation works to ensure that our nation’s most sacred places continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.

In 2013, we set a year-end fundraising goal of $500,000, and thanks to your love of- and commitment to - the national parks, we were able to reach this remarkable milestone. But, only with your ongoing support can we continue to be good stewards of our national parks while strengthening the next generation of park-lovers through our important outreach initiatives.

Your ongoing support will ensure your national parks remain “America’s Best Idea.” We look forward to continuing to partner with you in the year ahead. And, the next time you visit one of your 401 national parks, please be sure to share your photos and stories with us on Facebook and Twitter. We are always excited to see how you enjoy your national parks!

Six Ideas for Making Valentine's Day Extraordinary

Looking for a creative and unforgettable way to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year? Sweep your sweetheart off his/her feet by planning a romantic getaway to your national parks! Unplug from the daily bustle and reconnect with each other in our nation’s treasured places.

If you and your honey prefer an exhilarating outdoor experience, consider:

A moonlit hike in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
A day in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve as part of an Alaskan cruise
A ranger-guided tour in Joshua Tree National Park

If you’re hoping to cuddle up to your dearest indoors, consider:

A romantic riverboat cruise along the Mississippi River at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
A pampering spa getaway at Hot Springs National Park
A delectable dinner and overnight stay at Yellowstone National Park

If you’re looking for a thoughtful memento for your park-loving valentine, be sure to peruse the NPF Marketplace. The gifts not only give back by helping to protect America’s magnificent parks, but they will also make your park-lover swoon. For more ideas on romantic excursions in your national parks, keep an eye out for our new “I Heart Parks” Owner’s Guide coming out next month!

Donor Spotlight: Dean and Kathleen Rasmussen

The national parks have a nearly century-old tradition of support from private citizens who care deeply for America’s natural and cultural treasures. With the help of the National Park Foundation, Dean and Kathleen Rasmussen have recently added their names to this national parks legacy.

Though they call southern California home, Dean and Kathleen are world travelers as well as recent visitors to some of America’s most iconic parks. Dean operates a family-run construction company and Kathleen is an artist; together they are outdoor enthusiasts who find national parks a great outlet for their creative talents. Their respective commitments to philanthropy brought them together over a decade ago.

Through Dean and Kathleen's friendship with a member of the National Park Foundation board of directors the rich experiences of national parks were brought into sharper focus for the couple. They recently visited Grand Canyon National Park as part of an NPF-led expedition where they continued their discovery of the needs and opportunities within our nation's cherished parks.

As 2013 drew to a close, the Rasmussens made a generous gift to support NPF’s Legacy Projects, a group of eleven park projects of national significance. Their donation will help to develop a nursery at Grand Canyon National Park, stabilize cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, restore much-traveled walking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and fulfill other critical needs within the Legacy Projects portfolio.

Dean and Kathleen Rasmussen are wonderful philanthropic leaders for national parks. To learn more about how you can help to protect America’s special places, connect new audiences to our history, and inspire the new generation of park stewards, click here

Colorado National Monument Association

There is a beginning to everything; and for the Colorado Plateau that place is Colorado National Monument. The Monument’s great wall rises abruptly – creating a dramatic backdrop for Grand Junction and its environs – and then continues, as the Plateau, through many other iconic parks including Arches, Canyonlands, and culminates in the Grand Canyon. 

Snaking along the length of the park is Rim Rock Drive, a scenic highway offering both incredible views and a wonderful history. At the west entrance to the park you will find the visitor center where Colorado National Monument Association has been operating the bookstore since 1964. Visitors and members who participate in CNMA’s frequent park walks are frequently treated to the soaring eagles, big horn sheep, and lizards that make the park their home.

The new year kicks off with a call for submissions to the CNMA's 2015 Monument Calendar – check out the 2014 calendar – and a membership drive to push the current number of 450 members to over 500; help get them there by becoming a member today!

Trail Talk

Ever wonder about the best hikes, sites, and activities in America's national parks? Are you unsure about where to visit next or what to pack? NPF's blog, Trail Talk, is a great place to find all the answers!

We also invite each of you to write about your experiences, share your tips, and stories so that others can follow along. If you’re interested in joining the fun, submit a guest post for consideration at blog@nationalparks.org.

Make your next national park adventure better than ever! Download a FREE copy of Happy Trails today!

National Park Foundation
National Park Service
Flight 93 National Memorial

What national park maintains its own peach, apple, and pear orchards?

Submit Your Answer Here

Congratulations to last month's winner, Lucretia Jevne, from Vacaville, CA, who knew that "Denali", the native Athabascan name for Mt. McKinley, means “Great One.”

Way to go, Lucretia!

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