Why parks matter

The national parks represent the best of America — our rich natural, historical and cultural heritage. But without proper funding, our parks are in peril.

What’s at stake? Priceless memories — and the memories we haven’t yet made.

Let’s remind our leaders why parks matter. Share your park story now or remind yourself to share it later.

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We were on vacation at our daughter’s home in San Francisco in the late 1990’s. She suggested going to a national park. I had wanted to see the largest tree in the world, therefore, we drove to the Sequoia National Park. As Anne, Al and I walked the p…

It was August, 1945. My parents and I were listening to the radio. It was true, war was finally over. After my semi-retired father turned off the radio, he looked at my mom and me and said, “Let’s go to California next summer.” So after my fourth yea…

When I was a kid, my father took me and my sibs camping in Yosemite in the early 60's. All day and night we heard people yelling: "Elmer", "Elsie, Gilbert!" repeatedly. Being newbies to the park, we had no idea what was going on. My Dad,OBM, told us…

I thought I would never see anything as awe-inspiring as the ocean, that is, until I peered over the edge of the Grand Canyon. This visit was made even more special because it was with my father who passed away unexpectedly less than 5 years later. He wa…

  NPCA Staff Pick

This was my first visit to Arches, and certainly will not be the last. This particular photo was taken at a point where an old mobile home sat many years ago, inhabited by a seasonal park ranger who was a bit of a recluse, but spoke to millions. An envir…

In West Texas, power plants in the U.S. and Mexico add to other man-made pollutants to foul the air of Big Bend National Park. This is not just a problem with vision, but human, plant and animal health as well. There is some indication that many of our c…

As my father and I hiked down the trail into the canyon, I recall feeling like a visitor to a very sacred place, almost as if I were an intruder into this land steeped with tradition, and unchanged by time. The sun brought out the deep red hues of the sh…

My dad loved to herd us all to Rocky Mountain National Park to snowshoe. He and Mom had the snowshoes made of wood, with leather bindings, and he loved to get into the trees tramping around the really deep drifts. It's a fond memory - Dad didn't take muc…

The outdoors first welcomed me when I went to Yellowstone in 1951. I worked there during the summers while I was in college for three years. Immediately I loved it there. Lake Lodge before beautiful Lake Yellowstone was my home. My duties sent me t…

The views are a key feature of Joshua Tree National Park. From Keys View, you can see the Mexican border a hundred miles away on a clear day. But on days when air pollution blows in from the Port of Los Angeles, the inland empire and car-centric suburbs,…

It was my first visit to Yellowstone National Park and I nearly lost my mind (in a good way). To define what is real in the world today, you have to leave the world you know behind. As a single traveler to Yellowstone, I was able to see so much, hear so …

In the 1980’s, my husband, our two high-school aged daughters, and I took a summer vacation to Yellowstone National Park by car driving across Nebraska and Wyoming. We stopped twice on the way out, first with relatives in Chappell and then after enjoyin…

One of my most memorable experiences visiting Crater Lake was being there at night, and just looking up at the night sky filled with more stars than I had ever seen. Every year I grow more concerned with the numerous threats Crater Lake is facing, fro…

Four generations - my grandmother, mother, daughter, and I - visited Joshua Tree National Park in the spring. There were yuccas, joshua trees, and wildflowers in bloom. With a 3 year old and an 81 year old, we weren't as mobile as some of the astounding …

  NPCA Staff Pick

As someone who spent years working in Historic Preservation, it's important to me to teach my daughter why that preservation matters--even if she's too young to understand yet. The NPS Centennial, and a recent viewing of the IMAX National Parks Adven…

  NPCA Staff Pick

I loved being in Yosemite. I was camping in a tent with my friend while her parents stayed in the camper. One night I heard what sounded like a bear nearby. That kept me awake for awhile! It was 90 degrees there, so I went tubing down the Merced River. …

As housing and development and energy exploration continues to grow in the United States, the importance of preserving untouched spaces has become of paramount importance. And because the views and clear skies are important to the national park experienc…

In the past few years I have seen changes in visibility of the sky-scape at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, because of the large amounts of particulate matter and other airborne toxins from the Central Valley. On a poor air quality day, you can o…

I’ve been going to Shenandoah National Park for almost 30 years. As a nature and wildlife photographer, I’m extremely concerned about environmental quality in general and air quality in particular. Air quality isn’t a stand-alone issue. It also affects w…

Our family has been going to Acadia National Park since the mid 70's. One of our favorite hikes is to Balance Rock, now we take the hike with our extended family. This is a special place for our family!

In the early 1970’s, Eleanor and I and the 4 children vacationed in Colorado. We made the trip by car from our home in Lincoln, Nebraska – stopping occasionally for rest and food. As we crossed into Colorado, we played our favorite game. Whoever first…

My husband and I go to GSMNP about 3 times a year for the past 15 years. On the way back from Cherokee, NC this view was presented to us near Newfound Gap in 2014. These are the moments that we will remember. Mother Earth in her finest evening wear!

It was late evening in mid-May as we pulled in to the visitor's center where the thermometer read 106 degrees, but as the hot winds blew across the desert floor, the invitation to explore further could be felt. My father, my greatest hiking partner was a…

Gotta start them young! This was actually this little lady's second Harpers Ferry excursion, but this time we brought the extended family, hiked up Maryland Heights, and enjoyed an incredible sunset by the river. We talked to her about the history of thi…

  NPCA Staff Pick

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