The Guardians of America's Parks

It takes more than park rangers and entrance fees to keep parks open and operating. In fact, there are national and state organizations alike that work in partnership with the parks to keep them accessible and vibrant. It's these guardians that help protect the parks and remind their visitors why these natural resources are so important.

Here are some of the more well-known and respected organizations that work tirelessly to give the parks the love they need.

More: What Does a Park Ranger Do?

The National Park Foundation

Founded over a century ago, the official charity of the National Park Service assists in supporting the more than 400 national parks and their programs through private support from outdoor lovers and camping enthusiasts like you.

The core values of the NPF include:

  • Support for our parks from private citizens, organizations and other resources
  • The belief that our national parks are treasures for all Americans to appreciate, and should be protected
  • Creating and empowering new generations of park supporters by engaging people across all ages, races and backgrounds
  • Partnering with the National Park Service to share a vision for the park
  • Investing in innovative and sound actions that will build an efficient, effective and vibrant organization to support the parks
  • Measuring and accounting for the use of private support to benefit our national parks

More: The Best National Parks You Don't Know About Yet

How the NPF helps:

The Active Trails program works with volunteers, community groups, corporate partners, students and educators to get involved through hands-on trail work and special events.

$12 Billion: The amount of money needed to cover the backlog of national park maintenance projects.

America's Best Idea, inspired by the Ken Burns film The National Parks: America's Best Idea, introduces diverse, underserved and under-engaged populations to national parks in inventive ways through a variety of environmental, adventurous and historical activities.

National Christmas Tree Lighting has been elevated to new heights in recent years as a result of partnering with the National Park Service.

Local Park Support is yet another program in which the NPF serves as a resource and national voice for local national park charities, which are dedicated to protecting and enhancing our national parks for future generations.

PARK Teachers Program builds partnerships between the National Park Service education staff and local universities to build teacher confidence in content knowledge and teaching skills in science.

Resource Recovery and Protection programs receive, manage, and put into action conservation and preservation funds, which arise from court orders, mitigation and restoration projects. The programs also handle the settlement of criminal and civil cases and ensure that all funds are directed to the most critical projects.

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