A Message From Our Executive Director

Dear Friends:

I hope that you are safe and well during this very difficult year in our nation. At National Park Trust, it has been a time of deep self-reflection and conversation about the challenges we face, not only due to the pandemic, but also because of the systemic racism that plagues our country. We at National Park Trust believe that Black Lives Matter.

Over the past 11 years, we’ve brought tens of thousands of kids of color from under-served communities to our parks to open their eyes to the vast educational and awe-inspiring experiences that await them. For many of them it is their very first park experience, but certainly not their last. It is our mission to change the future one child, one family at a time.

We all know, especially during this time of physical distancing, that getting outdoors is therapeutic and healing — and there certainly has been a heightened awareness and appreciation of the beauty of our parks. They are priceless and irreplaceable, as are the memories we create when we visit them.

Equally important, our national parks also preserve the rich history of this country.  Each national park has a unique story — some of which are painful and make us feel uncomfortable, while others make us proud and appreciative of the great sacrifices of others. These stories need to be told and re-told, especially now. Our parks are wonderful classrooms for hands-on science, history, civics, and so much more. They are worthy of preserving, and every child and family should experience all they have to offer.

Our 37-year partnership with the National Park Service has protected both cultural and natural park resources. Our land acquisition projects are as diverse as the parks themselves. For example, many years ago we helped expand the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta, the birthplace of civil rights leader Dr. King. More recently, we added 145 acres to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway in Wisconsin, protecting hundreds of species of aquatic and wildlife, and providing recreational enjoyment for the community.

Thank you for staying connected with us during this challenging time and for your continued support. Our work would not be possible without you. There’s much more that needs to be done, but together we will ensure that the beauty and important stories of our national parks are preserved.  And, just as important, we will work toward a future in which all children, regardless of race or wealth, grow up to understand that the parks belong to them, and they belong in the parks.

I invite you to share your thoughts and ideas with me on how we can be more effective and responsive to these issues facing our nation.

With gratitude and appreciation,


 

 

Grace Lee
Executive Director