“Who we are is what we leave behind.” If you have seen the recent Subaru campaign then you are familiar with this mantra as well as their partnership with the national parks, if you are not, check it out here. It is important to consider what we leave behind in the parks. Even leaving our footprints can cause erosion and alter the course of natural water runoff. The effects of these, and other, actions are irreversible but preventable.
That being said, the parks need financial support to protect certain areas and species. For example, some parks will build boardwalks to allow visitors to explore sensitive areas without damaging them. Boardwalks can control a visitor’s path while allowing access to the inherent beauty of a park. These parks need funding to support existing infrastructure as well as develop new features. We believe that supporting and preserving your park is a great way to leave your mark.
Financial donations, while appreciated, are not your only option for supporting our national parks. One of the easiest things you can do is to respect the environment around you. Another excellent option is to donate your time. Examples are as simple as picking up garbage, volunteering as a park ranger or building new trails. An option that is not often thought of but is incredibly well received, is donating your services. Many photographers or artists find their muse in nature. Beautiful pictures can do a lot to publicize a park, especially the lesser known ones. This can be done by sending your pictures to the park or even sharing them on social media and tagging the park in your post.
There is an abundance of organizations that can help you achieve those goals. We have chosen to spotlight a couple groups that we support…
American Trails is a national nonprofit organization. They promote trail use of all sorts such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, snowshoeing, and more. American Trails strives to promote the use of trails to enhance one’s quality of life and community. They work to protect the environment while allowing visitors to experience it up close. If interested, American Trails has a newsletter for interesting and engaging information about the monthly happenings in the world of trials. Click here to explore their site, sign up for their newsletter, or join their organization.
Friends of the National Parks
The Friends of National Parks serves as a liaison between National Parks Service and regional “friends” groups. While this is the umbrella group, most parks are associated with a local “friends of” organization. These groups work to raise money and better our parks. Click here to find your local friends organization and explore ways that you can get involved in local or national park preservation.
In conclusion, with the 100 year anniversary of the national parks in the books, it is important that we consider how we got here and where we are headed. Without concerted efforts of protection and preservation, the future of our national parks may be in peril. Let’s make sure that’s not the case. Since “we are what we leave behind,” let us contribute to leaving behind something beautiful.