6 Ways to Support Our National Parks All Year-Round

the milky way and a starry sky above a silhouetted stone arch and a person standing beneath it
Milky Way over Arches National Park - NPS Photo / Jacob W. Frank

Preserving America's natural, cultural, and historical heritage in over 400 parks across the country is a massive undertaking – one that the National Park Service has been committed to for over a hundred years. As the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation works to protect wildlife and park lands, preserve history and culture, educate and engage youth, and connect people everywhere to the wonder of parks.

We do all this in collaboration with the National Park Service, the park partner community, and with the generous support of donors, without whom our work would not be possible.

We invite you to join the national park community and become a park champion! Check out some of the ways you can get involved today:

Make a Donation

A little flow of water that drops about two feet over a rock ridge on to the rocks and Lake Superior

Elliot Falls at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

NPS Photo / William Mobilian

Making a financial contribution to the National Park Foundation is one of the most effective ways to support the parks. National park donations of any amount fund countless projects and improvements throughout America's national parks, which collectively preserve more than 85 million acres of our most irreplaceable landscapes and historical sites. Even a small, one-time donation is appreciated, but there are also several more creative ways to give:

Volunteer at a Park

On a autumnal landscape with leaves changing orange on the trees, a simple wooden hut stands

Reconstructed soldier hut at Valley Forge National Historical Park


National parks across the country rely on volunteers for everything from cleanup efforts and invasive plant removal to citizen science and artist-in-residence programs. The opportunities as a VIP (Volunteer in Parks) are limitless and simultaneously provide participants with the chance to get active in the parks themselves. By volunteering, you lend your unique skills, talents, and knowledge to preserving your national parks in a tangible way.

Learn more about types of volunteer experiences in parks, then visit volunteer.gov to find the perfect volunteer opportunity for you.

Become a Friend

Two people sit at end of dock, facing lakes and mountain range

Lake McDonald at Glacier National Park

NPS Photo / Jacob W. Frank

More than 200 non-profit philanthropic park partners (or “Friends Groups”) across the country partner with national parks to carry out projects and programs of all kinds, from supporting restoration projects to hosting special events. Together with the National Park Foundation, these organizations are committed to the continued protection, connection, and engagement with our national parks.

Find a park near you to learn more about how to support your favorite park and park partner, and explore the ways the National Park Foundation is supporting local park partners through our Strong Parks, Strong Communities initiative.

Support Cooperating Associations

Field and mountains

Cataloochee at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

NPS Photo / Victoria Stauffenberg

In many parks, crucial services like operating bookstores, developing park-related publications, and supporting educational programming are carried out not by the NPS, but by cooperating associations.

In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, for example, the park bookstore is run by the independent Great Smoky Mountains Association, which supports the park by sharing revenue from the sale of its publications. You can support cooperative organizations in parks all over the country by signing up for a membership or by making a purchase when you visit a park.

Share Your Love of Parks

Two hikers rest on a grassy hill

Hikers at the Kahuku Unit of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

NPS Photo / J. Wei

National parks hold the power to inspire in each of us a sense of wonder and a love of exploration. Still, many don’t realize that the National Park System is made up of over 400 sites across the country. One of the best ways you can help support our parks is by helping others understand all that our parks have to offer. Reach out to a friend, a colleague, or a family member and bring them along with you the next time you visit your favorite site. Or post your favorite picture from a national park visit to our Share Your Park gallery. By introducing someone to a park experience, you can continue to pay it forward and help create future, life-long park lovers.

Visit a Park

Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park

Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park

NPS Photo / Sandy Groves

Want to understand why it’s so important to preserve these places for future generations? There's no better way to learn than through first-hand experience. Find a park near you and hit the road to experience them for yourself. Want to discover a new park to explore? Take our Find Your Park Quiz for personalized park recommendations.

Parks with entrance fees use the revenue to keep the parks running. The 200+ fee-free parks also appreciate the visits, as park visitors spread the word about the park’s value and help support the surrounding community. Park visitors can also enjoy fee-free days throughout the year, the perfect time to discover something new to love about our national parks.

If America's wild landscapes and our shared cultural heritage are important to you, there are many ways to contribute to the future of our national parks. And it’s always a good time to think about how you can make a difference for these remarkable places – whether it’s in celebration of a special park anniversary, a day of service, #GivingTuesday, National Park Week, or a year-end charitable donation!

Connect with the National Park Foundation today to learn more about how you can support our mission to preserve America’s national parks and programs. Then get out there and enjoy all the wonder our national parks have to offer!

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