Outdoor Exploration

A man holds a little while while pointing at lotus flowers
NPS Photo / Rachel Hendrix
Welcoming everyone to the natural wonder of parks

National parks hold the power to inspire in each of us a sense of wonder and a love of exploration. The National Park Foundation (NPF), together with our partners, support programs to ensure all people see themselves in parks and feel welcome in these places that belong to all of us. NPF’s Outdoor Exploration programs encourage multicultural and multigenerational family units to spend time outdoors in our iconic and memorable national parks through innovative in-park and digital experiences. 

From admiring wildlife and landscapes, to connecting with history and culture, exploration of our parks is an important and memorable element of national park experiences for all visitors. By eliminating barriers, promoting access, and cultivating connections to the social, mental, and physical health benefits of the outdoors, NPF supports opportunities for everyone to experience, enjoy, and create life-long relationships with our magnificent national parks. From teaching valuable lifelong skills to visitors and collaborating with partner organizations to foster inclusion, to promoting the engagement of communities of color with outdoor recreation, NPF’s Outdoor Exploration programs create and deepen longstanding connections to our national parks for all. 

Program Highlights

  • Empowering Outdoor Leaders – In 2017, NPF supported the launch of Summit Seekers, a collaborative effort with Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Groundwork USA, Outdoor AfroLatino Outdoors, and the Student Conservation Association. The inter-generational program provided 51 ambassadors professional training through hiking, camping, and other outdoor events during which they brainstormed ways to increase access to public lands for communities of color.  

  • Fostering Community Connections – As part of a three-year project to revitalize and connect local community members to Anacostia Park, NPF supported the hiring of Akiima Price as a Community Liaison in 2019. Price has helped the park connect with other community partner organizations and strengthened the park’s place within the local Washington, D.C. community. 

  • Junior Ranger Angler – Recreational fishing is an activity offered at over 200 parks nationwide, and through NPF's Junior Ranger Angler program, more kids and families are able to enjoy this pastime together. Launched in 2019, the program supports in-park fishing clinics at nearly 30 parks and growing nationwide, encouraging kids to earn their Junior Ranger Angler badge by learning fishing basics while families enjoy the benefits of being together outdoors. 

  • A Day on the River Raisin – In 2019, NPF and our partners welcomed 6,000 participants to the River Raisin National Battlefield Park for a day of fishing fun through our Junior Ranger Angler program. For most participants, this was their first journey to the park. Said one participant, “I thought it was really neat to learn what fish lives by me.”  

  • Outdoor Afro Partnership – Building off annual support of the Outdoor Afro Glamp Out, NPF and Outdoor Afro formally launched a new three-year partnership in 2020 to increase access and relevancy for Black communities, amplify Black voices through traditional and non-traditional media, and build capacity to sustain this work into the future.


How You Can Help
By donating to the National Park Foundation, you support programs like these that ensure that everyone feels welcome in and can enjoy all the wonder, recreation, and connection to our nation’s multi-faceted history that can be experienced in our national parks.