National parks protect, preserve, and share the stories of our country’s histories and cultures, including those of Indigenous peoples. It is important that everyone feels welcome in our parks, which belong to all of us, and NPF’s support of native lands connections projects helps connect Native American youth to the lands, histories, stories, heritage, and traditions that are found in our national parks. Whether it is reestablishing connections to their ancestral heritage or introducing youth to the many ways to recreate in our parks, these projects help youth enjoy, understand, and connect with our parks.

Highlights & Projects

Bryce Canyon National Park

Stewardship Careers Through Cultural Traditions

This project with Bryce Canyon National Park immersed Southern Paiute youth in their traditional homelands by providing overnight experiences and learning activities regarding their cultural heritage while instilling a sense of tenure and concern for the stewardship of park, forest, and public lands.

Native American youth in Glen Canyon

Outdoor Recreation at Glen Canyon

Outdoor activities are what Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is all about. In this project, Native American youth engaged in resource stewardship, citizen science, and service-learning projects along the San Juan River. By introducing youth to the ecology and geology of the river, they learned natural resource concepts and issues in their area, including native plant restoration and research on desert bighorn sheep.

Kids paddling in a canoe on Cresent Lake at Oylmpic National Park

Connecting Youth to Olympic

For thousands of years, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe called lands in Olympic National Park home. Today, tribal youth lack connection to the lands where their ancestors lived, fished, gathered plants, hunted, and participated in ceremonies and social traditions. Using the Elwha River Restoration Project as the backdrop, this project reconnected tribal youth with their culture of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.