• Our mission is to preserve parks today and create park stewards for tomorrow. Since 1983, we have completed more than 100 park projects in 33 states. Furthermore, to foster future park enthusiasts and stewards, we created our Buddy Bison School Program and Kids to Parks Day, our nationwide day of play. This video summarizes our accomplishments thanks to your generous support!​

    Mapping our progress


  • Since 1983, NPT has supported and assisted in acquiring inholdings and in developing public and private partnerships to promote the acquisition and preservation of parks, wildlife refuges, historic landmarks, public lands, and water ways. We have completed more than 100 park projects benefiting 49 national park units and other public lands in 33 states. To learn more about about our work and how you can get involved, contact Dick Ring, NPT Park Projects Director.

  • Buddy Bison® School Program: Because Kids Need Parks and Parks Need Kids

    The Buddy Bison school program was created in 2009 to engage diverse children from Title I schools with their local, state and national parks to teach environmental education and the numerous benefits of outdoor recreation. If parks are to survive, the face of those parks must change and under-served communities must have access to these local cultural and environmental resources. More than 80% of the students in the Buddy Bison school program qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch, predominantly in inner city communities. This program has been used in 60 schools across the country in grades pre-K through 8th in public, public charter and private schools across the country (20 states and Washington D.C.).

    This experiential learning program enhances existing school curricula throughout the year with emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) as well as history, language arts, reading, geography, the arts, and outdoor recreation. Students also learn about the careers of professionals who support our parks-- and the importance of stewarding our public lands. And in addition to bringing kids to parks, we bring parks to kids by arranging schools visits from our many conservation partners.

    To learn more about how you can get involved, contact Billy Schrack, NPT Director of Youth Programs.

A day out on the trail can be the best way to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether it’s a day hike or an overnight trip, there are many things to consider when hiking with kids. Take a look at our before, during and after guide to get the most of your experience.


Hiking the Mojave National Preserve

By doing a little bit of planning, you can really enhance your experience out on the trail. First off, you’ll want to map out your trail. Be sure to make this a family activity—kids will love being in charge and helping plan the route. Once you plan where you’re going to go and the trail, make sure you pack everything you need. Snacks, water, bug spray—these will all make your trip more pleasant. Finally, make sure you dress properly for the day. No one likes to be cold or have uncomfortable shoes halfway through the trip. 

Once you’re on the trail, you want to pace yourself. Don’t speed through the hike, or you might get really tired early on. Of course, you don't want to go too slow, either because some of you might lose steam before you’re done. Along the way, be sure to talk to your kids about what you’re seeing. Take pictures, point things out. You might even have everyone take turns being the leader—this will really make that lead person pay attention to their surrounding and experience nature on a deeper level. While you’re on the hike, don’t forget to take stops along the way to rest and refuel.

After your hike is done, take a little time to reflect on the day. You can do this through journaling, sketching or simply going over the pictures you took and talking about the day. This might seem like a simple thing, but it’s really important to do. This way, your kids will really remember the experience more. If you did something special or have a cool picture from the day, be sure to print it out and hang it up for everyone to enjoy.

Blog post provided by National Park Trust staff and Ken Keffer and Stacy Tornio, creators of DestinationNature.net.