A Community of Park Lovers

Hollis Hughes & Danielle BridgesNPF Blog
– Macala Elliott, Share Your Story

You know the saying, “when one door closes, another opens”? Well here at the National Park Foundation, we like to say, “when one celebration ends, another begins!” As the National Park Service Centennial winds down, the National Park Foundation is preparing to kick-off the semicentennial in 2017!

During that time, we’ve contributed to a number of historic moments: the acquisition of 3.13 acres of land at Antietam’s famous “Bloody Lane,” the launch of the Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque movement, studying the impact of the reintroduction of the grey wolf to Yellowstone National Park after their nearly century-long absence, and the establishment of Stonewall National Monument, the first national park focused on LGBT history, to name a few.

Each big milestone is made possible by park supporters like you.

Your passion for these places unite you to a community devoted to taking up the parks cause and ensuring they remain vibrant, relevant, and protected for future generations. This passion is nourished by the thousands of moments that happen in national parks every day. It’s a reality we know well – it fuels our passion for the National Park Foundation mission, too.

Below are some of our favorite park stories from the dedicated staff at the National Park Foundation. Join us in kicking off our semicentennial celebration by sharing your park experience here.

“My parents introduced me to national parks at an early age. Now that I am a parent, I love how I can bring history to life and foster a love for nature within my children with each park experience.” – Marjorie

“Hiking is my favorite activity to do in parks, and hiking the Skyline Trail at Mount Rainier National Park was one of the best hikes I’ve done! We trekked up Mt. Rainier until we could touch the clouds.” – Shelly

“A great memory is sitting beneath an ancient giant on the Olympic Peninsula and soaking in the healing energy.” – Carolyn

“On the south rim of the Grand Canyon attending my first Friends Alliance meeting in Oct 2016.  It was my first time at the park and my initial reaction was literally breathtaking.  An amazing piece of art, compliments to Mother Nature.” – Chrystal

Shenandoah National Park has always been a special place for us. It was the first national park we visited as a family with our 2 small children. It was the only park my husband recently wanted to visit before he loses the last of his sight to CNS lymphoma cancer. I love knowing that I work for an organization committed to creating and preserving memories in national parks for us all.” – Lucille

“There’s nothing better than experiencing the parks through the wondrous prism of a child’s eye.  I look forward to our annual trips with my young kids and the sense of discovery and pure joy that comes with it.” – Matt

“One of my new favorite national parks is Grand Canyon National Park. I love how the colors of the Canyon change with the time of day – deep reds, purples, pinks, and oranges can be seen with the sunset and sunrise.” – Marya

A group of NPF staffers pose for a photo at Great Falls Park

Great Falls Park

"Being in a national park is transformational!  Each national park experience is uniquely yours and filled with sights, smells, sounds and feelings that leave a lasting impression. I am so proud to work for NPF where I'm empowered to help make national park experiences available to persons to cherish as very their own." – Kim

“Spending the morning with my colleagues at Great Falls was truly an extraordinary experience, both musically and spiritually.  It was the perfect backdrop for the group because of its serenity and picturesque environment, from the beautiful trees to the crisp clean air, which contributed to the energy of the group and allowed us to fully engage in singing a great song together!” – Lisa

“Our work here brings me tremendous pride.  I love telling people where I work, even on an airplane.  Often all I have to do is say that I work for the national parks and the other person will start sharing story after story of what the parks mean to them. It always brings a smile to my face and makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself. Working here reminds me that I’m part of a shared story that helps to make so many people’s lives more fulfilling. Not a bad gig.” – Nicole

“On my third trip to Zion National Park I made it to the top of Observation Point, which overlooks Angels Landing and the other areas I had visited during prior trips. It was an entirely new perspective on the park for me and it’s a great example of how parks always have something new to offer every time you visit.” – Alex

“I’ll never forget standing on a fire watch station in Glacier National Park with 360-degree views and taking in the majesty and beauty in every direction.” – Jason

“Parks and wilderness are my special places. These are the places where I first learned to pitch a tent or go ice climbing, had my first backpacking trip, learned how to navigate with map and compass, and led my first major rock climbing route. National parks are magical places; they give me confidence, self-reliance, and humility.” – Edith

“I am proud of our work as I feel my contributions to this organization are helping to protect and preserve the beautiful nature that surrounds us. Ecological sustainability has been a major issue for some time. Nature must be protected at all cost. Thank you NPF for providing me with opportunities to make a difference.” – Roseline

“I am so proud to be part of the NPF team and help protect and preserve the parks for future generations. Parks are wonderful treasures where you can be one with nature and I look forward to continuing to gather memories and experiences for many years to come. Go parks!” – Nimia

“One of my fondest – and earliest – memories of being in a national park was hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with my family. We spent the night at Phantom Ranch and really got to experience firsthand the opportunity of being in such a magnificent and inspiring landscape.  I am truly fortunate to have grown up in a park-loving family!” – Jennifer

“There is no better way to renew the bond with two college-aged sons than a hike to Angels Landing in Zion National Park, enduring steep switchbacks and sheer drop-offs before pulling oneself up on a chain bolted to the cliff to this heavenly destination.”  – Joan

Tell us what made you fall in love with the parks. Visit our website and share your park experience!


On Oct. 10, 1990, I was 45 years old and my son was 18. We hiked down the North Kaibab trail and up the South Kaibab trail at the Grand Canyon in 11.5 hours. On Oct. 7 next year (2017) my son will be 45 years old and his son will be 18. They will do the same hike with my wife of 48 years and I will drive the car around to pick them up. . We really love the Grand Canyon! . Ed Moder
Just wondering where the article cover photo was taken? Lake Crescent in Olympic NP? It looks beautiful! My girlfriend and I visited ONP in 2015, and toured the entire park for two weeks in late May. It only rained on us once, somehow. We saw a black bear in the Hoh rain forest, completed the unbelievable Seven Lakes Basin trail in a day from Sol Duc area, ventured out to Neah Bay, camped at Ozette Lake, and stayed in a cabin on the beach at La Push. We cannot wait to return someday. Happy travels all--and please pack it out!!!
Yes, Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park. You can view Macala's image and story here: https://www.nationalparks.org/connect/park-experience/storm-lake-crescent

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