WASHINGTON – The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, today announced it is making a $25,000 donation to a fire relief fund managed by the National Park Service Employees and Alumni Trust Fund. The National Park Foundation’s donation to the relief fund was made possible thanks to a gift from Humana, a partner of Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque. Humana has a community location in nearby Knoxville and several hundred associates in Tennessee.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its surrounding communities are still recovering from the November 2016 wildfires that burned a total of 17,140 acres in Sevier County, TN. The wildfires originated from multiple locations including an arson fire set at Chimney Tops inside the park and from downed power line ignitions throughout the county. Fueled by extreme winds and dry weather, the fire storm resulted in 14 fatalities, 190 injured individuals, damage to approximately 2,500 structures, and a total of an estimated $500 million in damage.
“In moments of joy and in tragedy, we are here for our park partners, both at the National Park Service and within the broader park community,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “We are saddened to know that so many lost so much, and we hope that our contribution can help make a very tragic situation more manageable as they rebuild their lives.”
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.