The national parks need support. The easiest way is to donate to nonprofits that support the National Park Service. You can also donate your time, in the parks or as a volunteer for one the nonprofits that benefit the national parks. Here are several nonprofits that benefit the national parks.
National Park Foundation
As the official charity for the U.S. National Park Service, it has charter from the U.S. Congress.
Its mission statement is to “further the conservation of natural, scenic, historic, scientific, educational, inspirational, or recreational resources for future generations of Americans”.
Former first lady, Lady Bird Johnson founded the National Park Foundation in 1968.
National Parks Conservation Association
As the only independent nonpartisan member organization, it is devoted to the advocacy of the National Park System. Its mission statement is “to protect and enhance America’s National Park System for present and future generations”.
Stephen Mather and Robert Sterling Yard founded the National Parks Conservation Association in 1919.
As a land acquisition and environmental education nonprofit, it acquires the missing pieces inside or adjacent to national parks. It also brings kids from under-served communities to the parks. Its mission statement is to “preserve parks today and create park stewards for tomorrow”.
It was founded in 1983.
I am a volunteer Ambassador for the National Park Trust.
National Park Service
The National Park Service welcomes volunteers in the parks. It’s an ideal way to donate your time. Programs are available throughout the NPS system and range for one day events to year-round programs.
Volunteer positions range from campground hosts to visitor center volunteers. Volunteers with 250 hours per year get a NPS annual park pass. Some opportunities include complimentary campsites. Become a National Park VIP, or Volunteers in the Park.
Student Conservation Association
As a nonprofit organization, it is dedicated “to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.” This association host camps and internships to get high school and college students in the parks to perform conservation work.
Elizabeth Cushman Titus Putman founded the SCA in 1957 .
My son has volunteered for the SCA summer program in Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve in Washington.
National Parks Art Foundation
As a nonprofit organization it is “dedicated to bringing artistic experiences to National Park Service sites”. It offers Artist-in-Residence programs across the National Parks. like Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park off the coast of Florida.
I was named a finalist for the 2021 NPAF Dry Tortugas Artist in Residence program.
Individual Park’s Associations
Some of the larger National Parks have their own foundations to support programming and conservation in its respective parks. For a complete list, head to the NPS site.
The Grand Canyon Conservancy is one such organization and it benefits of the Grand Canyon National Park. Find popular camps and workshops throughout the year, like guided family camps, artist workshops and more.
My son attended a week-long Leave-No-Trace camping and hiking trip into the canyon with the Grand Canyon Conservancy Field Institute.
The Sierra Club
Its mission statement is “to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives”.
On the West Coast, it organizes outdoor activities . Though it is know for its political activism for environmental causes, like damn projects impacting national parks.
John Muir the famous naturalist founded The Sierra Club in 1892.
The Nature Conservancy
It is a global environmental organization. Its mission statement “is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends”. To date it has protected more than 119,000,000 acres of land.
The Nature Conservancy was founded in 1951.