9 Nonprofits that Support the U.S. National Parks
For those who want to support the land they love, there are several nonprofits that benefit the national parks. You might have time and want to donate it in a park. You might want to make a monetary donation. Both ways benefit the National Parks and the outdoor world. In addition to preserving land, some organizations help students and artists work in the national parks , each raising awareness for preservation. Here are the best foundations and nonprofits that benefit the National Parks.
National Park Service
If you want to spend your summer in a park, the National Park Service welcomes volunteers. 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.
Become a National Park VIP, or Volunteers in the Park. 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.
National Park Foundation
It is the official charity for the U.S. National Park Service and has a 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”.
Founded in 1968 by former first lady, Lady Bird Johnson.
National Parks Conservation Association
It’s the only independent nonpartisan member organization that’s 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”.
Founded in 1919 by Stephen Mather and Robert Sterling Yard.
National Park Trust
It is a land acquisition and environmental education nonprofit that 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.
Student Conservation Association
It’s a nonprofit organization dedicated “to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment
Founded in 1957 by Elizabeth Cushman Titus Putman.
My son has volunteered for the SCA summer program.
National Parks Art Foundation
It is a nonprofit organization “dedicated to bringing artistic experiences to National Park Service sites”. It offers Artist-in-Residence programs across the NPS. like Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park.
I was named a finalist for the 2021 NPAF Dry Tortugas Artist in Residence program.
Individual Park’s Associations
Some National Parks have their own foundations that support programming and conservation in individual parks. For a list, head to the NPS site.
The Grand Canyon Conservancy is one such organization and benefits of the Grand Canyon National Park. 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
Founded by naturalist John Muir in 1892, 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”.
It organizes outdoor activities on the West Coast. Though it is know for its political activism for environmental causes, like damn projects impacting national parks.
The Nature Conservancy
Founded in 1951, 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.
Global Alliance of National Parks
The mission of the Global Alliance of National Parks is to “inspire and develop conservation and protection of the world’s natural resources” by education and promotion. Find travel guides on its site.