"Watching the Sparkle in My Daughter's Eyes"
Frank Hanzlik shares his love for national parks with his daughter. Read Frank’s story of why he’s a Champion Society member.
When my daughter was 3 years old, we traveled from our home in Portland, Oregon down to Crater Lake National Park. My little girl hadn’t been out in the country before, so one late night I woke her up and we drove out to the rim of the Lake.
When she looked up, she was blown away by how many stars she could see ... far away from the city lights.
I’ll never forget that moment, watching the sparkle in my daughter’s eyes.
And that’s the best way to explain why I’ve supported the National Park Foundation for the past 17 years – because of countless special park moments I’ve had throughout my life. My children are grown now, and together we’ve visited at least 30 parks, with plans for even more.
Our national parks are one of our nation’s greatest legacies – unique in the whole world. I consider it a deep privilege to be able to hike in stunning locations or to stand in the same spot where history was made generations before me and feel those stories come alive.
When I visit the parks, whether I’m camping at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks or watching the sunrise on Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park, I feel a sense of peace and calm unlike anywhere else. Especially with all the challenges of the past year, the parks are such an important place to recharge – and feel grounded and humble in the majesty of nature.
The National Park System is something none of us should take for granted. These breathtaking and historic places are an amazing gift for all of us. With that gift comes the responsibility to protect these places for generations to come. And investing in the work of the National Park Foundation is how I do my part.