As the oppressive summer heat loosens its grip on the country, national parks are transitioning into the cooler, colorful days of autumn. It’s hard to pinpoint the best part of the season. Could it be that the crowds at popular attractions ease? Or that the beautiful and world-renowned trails see less traffic? Or could it be that the parks themselves transform this season, shedding the verdant glaze of summer for the warm-toned glow of its autumnal wardrobe?   

Before the cold and short days of winter arrive, be sure to take full advantage of this last glorious burst of life across the country. Slip into your warm socks and long-sleeved sweaters, grab your adventure pack, and get into your national parks! Here are just a few ideas on how you can enjoy this gorgeous time of year:

Volunteer. Celebrate National Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands, on Saturday, September 27 with FREE admission into national parks!

Go for a drive. Revel in Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s fall glory by enjoying a scenic drive along one of its trails including Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail or the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Take a hike. Grab your loved ones and enjoy the wildlife and scenery of Cuyahoga Valley National Park on a family-friendly hike along Tree Farm Trail or Blue Hen Falls Trail.

Go rock climbing. Get a gorgeous view of the fall scenery from above in Yosemite National Park as you scale the Merced River Canyon or Tuolumne Meadows.

The fall offers something fun for everyone – be sure to explore the options at a national park near you! Get additional ideas on enjoying this magnificent time of year by checking out our blog post here.

Field Trips to the Park! Vote for Your Favorite
Story and Win!
Celebrating la
Herencia Hispana!

Field Trips to the Park!

Have you taken a field trip to a national park? As school starts again, many students will participate in the National Park Foundation’s Ticket to Ride program this year. This program provides transportation support for youth to visit national parks and engage in meaningful activities.

Many kids have national parks right in their backyards but have never visited a park before. At Biscayne National Park, youth will participate in a variety of outdoor activities, including exploring mangroves, canoe water quality examinations, and the popular lionfish dissection program. Through these activities, kids get hands-on experience in science and resource protection programs at the park.

A geology field day at Lava Beds National Monument offers students the opportunity to walk through a lava flow, explore several volcanic features, and experience the depth of lava tube caves. They will also record this amazing adventure in journals throughout the trip.  

Lowell National Historical Park uses the Merrimack River as a living classroom where students are able to collect water samples during their visit, test them for various elements, and analyze the data they collect. Through these activities students build their understanding of ecology and the importance of this watershed.

Field trips to national parks are a great way to engage a student’s curiosity of science and exploration and to provide a way to build on classroom teachings and curriculums. To find out how you can support programs to get youth in the parks, click here.

Summer Scrapbook: Vote for Your Favorites and Win!

National park fans have contributed thousands of exciting and inspirational stories to the NPF Summer Scrapbook. The content submission period has ended and the finalists have been selected, but there’s still time for you to enter for a chance to win big! Vote for your favorite stories by September 26 and you could win a dream national park adventure!

Anyone who votes has a chance to win a national park adventure to Yellowstone and Grand Teton. The winners in each category will also receive awesome national park prize packs filled with outdoor equipment, NPF gear, a national parks pass, and so much more!

Join the fun and help us showcase the best of our national parks, vote today at!

Celebrating la Herencia Hispana!

National Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off this week! Join us this month (from September 15 to October 15) as we commemorate the many contributions, diverse cultural heritage, and rich traditions of American Latinos.

Sites across the National Park System protect historic areas, structures, and landscapes that tell the story of our country’s founding, preserving the places where American Latinos shaped and enriched our nation. From San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico, one of the key frontier outposts of Spain’s West Indies dominions, to César E. Chávez National Monument in California, the home and final resting place of the renowned Latino civil rights activist, you can visit fascinating places across the country to explore the history and stories of American Latinos.  

Whether you’re well–versed in American Latino history, or are a novice to the incredible stories that are woven into our nation’s fabric, there is always something new to learn and discover! For more information on the numerous sites that protect American Latino heritage for future generations, visit the American Latino Heritage Fund.


Thank You!

Autumn is upon us and national parks are a great place to enjoy the gorgeous fall foliage, have amazing experiences with fewer crowds, or learn about our nation’s history in our “natural” classrooms. Just last month, we celebrated the 98th birthday of the National Park Service – nearly a century of protecting America’s most beautiful and sacred places.

At the National Park Foundation, we work to ensure that this amazing legacy continues, and through the continued partnership with friends like you, we are able to fund programs that support important conservation and preservation efforts. Your support also enables us to connect America’s youth to the history and beauty of our park system and inspire the next generation of park stewards.

We hope that you will continue your generous support and friendship as we approach the end of our 2014 fiscal year on September 30. Please help us to protect “America’s Best Idea,” and inspire more people to connect with these amazing treasures—ensuring a bright future for America’s 401 national parks. And the next time you visit, be sure to share your stories with us on Facebook and Twitter. We are always thrilled to see you share the love for your parks!

A Long Weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park

You can’t wait until you have enough time or enough flexibility to head out on your next national park adventure. Truth is there is never enough time to explore the beauty and history of our over 400 national parks. Let your wanderlust and adventurous drive take over and make that next escapade to a national park happen over a long weekend!

Our latest Travel Idea walks you through a three-day itinerary, packed with fun and must-do activities in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. Wondering where you should grab some lunch or set up camp? We’ve got you covered! Filled with insider tips and can’t-miss views, we’re ready to help you plan your next unforgettable long weekend in a national park. To read more, click here.

Donor Spotlight: Allyson Louthan

National parks are rare places of admiration and inspiration and often unite generations of families to enjoy these American treasures. This is especially true for Allyson Louthan, who has been supporting NPF since 2000.

Allyson has been visiting national parks since she began traveling out west with her parents as a child. Growing up in Short Hills, New Jersey, she was struck by the natural beauty of the stunning landscapes of the western parks, such as Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Mesa Verde. 

These remarkable experiences led Allyson to share her love for national parks with the generations of her family, encouraging them to form deeper personal connections to our nation’s natural and cultural heritage. It was a trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks with her daughter that first inspired Allyson to begin donating to the national parks. Then in 2012, she took her grandson, aged six, on a weeklong trip to Yellowstone. She was delighted to recount his excitement upon seeing bison for the first time on the trip. “I want everyone to understand the importance of the parks in educating children by allowing them to see wildlife in their home environment.”

Guided by the belief that America’s parks need to be protected, Allyson recently made a generous donation of stock to NPF to support ongoing efforts to preserve the unparalleled resources of the national parks and to make them accessible to all Americans to experience. According to Allyson, "The parks are our greatest asset and an important part of our heritage. They are great for families of all economic levels, and anyone can go to them.”

To learn more about protecting the national parks for the next generation, click here.

ALEx14 Expedition

Our 2014 @American_Latino Expedition bloggers and social media superstars had such an incredible time exploring and sharing Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park with you! If you’re not up-to-date, you have to read the expedition blog and get caught up! You can also search #ALEx14 across all social media platforms and you’ll find tons of photos, videos, and memories.

From admiring views of the Tetons from the car window, to hiking the incomparable Inspiration Point, to sharing stories with the local Latino community, to spotting elk, to overcoming a fear of heights at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park, to learning how to identify trees, to being sworn in as junior rangers, #ALEx14 moments were moving and absolutely unforgettable. To that end, a huge thanks must go out to our incredible sponsors GoRVing, Aramark, REI, and Columbia Sportswear for their help in making this trip possible.

Did you learn or see anything new during #ALEx14? Be sure to tell us using the designated hashtag!

While the 2014 expedition may have ended on Friday, September 12, the sharing, reflecting, and reminiscing about our love for national parks has just begun! We invite you to keep using the #ALEx14 hashtag during National Hispanic Heritage Month and throughout the year. Stay tuned for #ALEx15!

Urban Oasis

Rock Creek Park is a wooded haven in the heart of the Washington metropolitan area. With verdant gardens, beautiful hiking trails, abundant wildlife, and even a planetarium, this park provides the nation’s capital with a natural oasis within the bustling city. As the third oldest federally-managed park – established in 1890 by an act of Congress – Rock Creek Park is not only a natural sanctuary but also hosts a collection of historic buildings and forts.

Today, the Rock Creek Conservancy works closely with the National Park Service to restore and maintain the myriad of units managed by NPS throughout the park grounds. Rock Creek Conservancy’s mission is to protect and revitalize this treasured park to foster both positive environmental progress, as well as providing a scenic space for the community to enjoy. 

Currently, the conservancy is taking action with their neighborhood-based stream teams that adopt sections of the park or creek for environmental stewardship. They also hold an annual Rock Creek Extreme Cleanup with trash cleanups at over 50 locations along Rock Creek, demonstrations to showcase how property owners can capture runoff on their own property, as well as tackling invasive plants that threaten the health and beauty of the park.

You can learn more about the incredible work of Rock Creek Conservancy by visiting its website or following the organization on Facebook and Twitter.

Make your next national park adventure better than ever! Download a FREE copy of our
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National Park Foundation
National Park Service
Flight 93 National Memorial

What national seashore sits directly on a major earthquake fault? Name the park and the fault.

Submit Your Answer Here

And congratulations to last month's winner, Scott Newman, from Littleton, CO, who knew that Acadia National Park features 17 unique stone-faced bridges spanning streams, waterfalls, cliffs, and roads.

Way to go, Scott!
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