Grateful for You

We're Thankful for All the Ways People Make a Difference at Our National Parks
Rebecca Guldin and Mo GalloNPF Blog
Great Falls Park - NPS Photo

Thank you. Truly. We mean it.  

We can never fully express our level of gratitude to all the people who contribute to our parks in a multitude of ways. But today, we will try. 

Park Enthusiasts  

A line of volunteers carry flats of plant starts up a trail through an alpine meadow at Mount Rainier National Park.

Volunteers help with meadow restoration, Mount Rainier National Park

NPS Photo

Thank you for all the ways you make a difference in our national parks. We’re thankful for every single contribution, every visit, every kid in a park – we’re thankful for YOU. 

In 2018, you helped protect 1,562 acres of land. And because of you, more than 7,000 students were able to partake in citizen science programs. Thanks to you, 32 historic structures were restored and 83 tons of trash were removed from national parks.

We’re thankful for corporate partners who help enrich the park experience of many through needed programs, like service corps, Open Outdoors for Kids, volunteerism, trail restoration, and sustainability initiatives. 

Park Rangers 

A woman standing among 4 girls as they make clay pottery

Ranger Drapeau at Pipestone National Monument

NPS Photo

We’re thankful for National Park Service employees who wear a lot of different hats – literally and figuratively. From finance to scientific research to community assistance to maintenance to park rangering, park employees fill a variety of roles to preserve our nation’s special places and stories.

Park rangers lead tours, assist visitors, give talks, swear in Junior Rangers, guide recreational programs, provide emergency medical assistance, ensure visitors’ safety … the list goes on and on. Rangers are the public face of our national parks and we are truly thankful for their dedication.

To all of the men and women who wear green and gray: Thank you for your service. 

Service Corps 

A group of people stand and kneel on a boardwalk in a hydrothermal area, Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Trail Crew, Lassen Volcanic National Park

NPS Photo / Kirk Barrett

The service corps do the physical work that keeps parks safe and open. It’s taxing work and many crew members leave with a greater appreciation of the parks. 

It’s not glamorous, but these amazing, dedicated people of all ages tirelessly do what needs to be done to keep our national parks maintained and functioning, from clearing brush to leveling terrain and beyond. In 2018 alone, the National Park Foundation supported the placement of 698 youth who contributed 74,480 hours in 38 sites across the National Park System through conservation and service corps. That’s incredible! 

We’re thankful for the members of our service corps crews and conservation corps who do so much for our national parks. Your work benefits us all and we are truly grateful.

Our National Parks 

A cannon in a foggy field with cornstalks at sunset, Antietam National Battlefield

Antietam National Battlefield

NPS Photo

Finally, we’re thankful for our country’s many inspiring, beautiful, historical, majestic, inspirational national parks. From the grandeur of a mountain range, to music of a songbird, to the stillness of contemplative monuments, our parks let us connect with nature and one another.  

National Parks are a window to the past, allowing us all to better understand the lives of those who came before us, who helped make us who we are individually and collectively. They give all of us the opportunity to celebrate our shared cultural heritage, no matter when or where our journeys began.

Our national parks span more than 84 million acres. They sprawl across prairies, bustling cities, quiet towns, roaring rivers, and immense oceans. They’re thousands of miles away and in your backyard. They’re museums, libraries, underwater trails, canyons, caverns, vistas, campsites, and so much more.  

We’re thankful for each and every park – all 419 of them.  

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