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Great American Outdoors Act is Signed Into Law

On August 4th, the president signed the Great American Outdoors Act marking the greatest conservation achievement in decades! This act will not only provide $900 million annually for the Land and Water Conservation Fund but will also begin to tackle the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog with a $9.5 billion infusion over five years.

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Yasmin Best

A native New Yorker, Yasmin did not grow up near the mountains or next to a bucolic lake. Instead, her love of the outdoors was nurtured by a father who, despite his own childhood in inner-city Memphis, felt strongly about making sure that his children were exposed to enjoying the outdoors. Childhood camping trips took Yasmin to various state parks across the Northeast with her family. Later, yearly trips with friends to Acadia National Park in Maine deepened Yasmin’s love for our country’s vast untouched, outdoor spaces. Yasmin continues to enjoy getting out into the wilderness whenever possible, whether it is running trails on vacation in Colorado or checking out beaver dams in northern Minnesota. Next up on her bucket list is spending time at Grand Teton National Park, where her father spent his summers more than fifty years ago.

When she is not researching cabins and campgrounds, Yasmin works as an attorney. After almost ten years as a federal prosecutor in Chicago, Yasmin is now a partner at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in the firm’s white-collar criminal defense and government investigations group. Yasmin is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School.

Kim Hassan

Kim Hassan was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. During her youth, she spent many summers on her grandparents’ farm in rural Alabama, where she learned to fish, garden, and skip rocks on the pond. Kim has always been fascinated by the natural world and has endeavored to visit as many national, state, and local parks and forests as possible. Her most memorable experience being a 5 ½ hour mule ride to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, an overnight at the Phantom Ranch, followed by a 4 ½ hour ride back to the top of the Grand Canyon. Kim has developed a lasting love of nature and believes in the importance of taking time to appreciate our natural surroundings.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be part of an organization that deeply cares about preserving park lands and introducing the next generation to the wonders and beauty that can be found in parks.”

Kim is the Associate General Counsel for Pepco Holdings, where she is responsible for directing the regulatory law function for Pepco and Delmarva Power and Light before the District of Columbia and Maryland Public Service Commissions.

Prior to joining Pepco Holdings, Hassan served as Senior Counsel at Sempra Energy for 10 years, where she represented Southern California Gas Company and San Diego Gas & Electric Company in many complex administrative proceedings and settlement negotiations before the California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Before joining Sempra Energy, Hassan practiced state and federal energy law at a law firm in Washington, D.C.

Kim is actively involved in community development initiatives and serves on the board of the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science, and she has previously served on the board of a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering and transforming the lives of foster care and at-risk teenage girls.

Kim currently resides in Washington, D.C. with her dog Billy Dee.

Aparna Dave

Being outdoors is my happy place. As a child, I spent hours exploring outdoors and connecting with nature. Whether it was swimming in the ocean, monthly picnics at the local park, or nature camp at the museum, the outdoors has always given me a sense of calm, well-being, and feeling recharged.

I struggled with childhood asthma, so as an adult, I was determined to push out of my comfort zone and channel nature’s energy, to complete my first marathon in 2005. Since then, I’ve completed over a dozen races and gained a renewed appreciation for nature. I feel connected to something bigger than myself when I’m outside.

Now that I’m a mom, spending time outdoors has become even more precious to me. There is nothing I love more than watching my daughter play in the park, kick up dirt, turn over rocks, throw leaves in the air, splash in the ocean, marvel at the birds, spot a nest in the tree or gaze at the stars. The endless possibilities are why I joined the National Park Trust. I hope that she, too, will grow to build and cherish a lifetime of memories outdoors.

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Aparna is Managing Counsel for Wells Fargo Bank’s brand, marketing and corporate communications groups. She is passionate about driving diversity and inclusion in the company and her community and is actively involved with local and national organizations including the State Bar of Texas Minority Counsel Program, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Wells Fargo’s Pro Bono Committee, and other diversity organizations. Aparna holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Business and Political Science from Houston Baptist University. She also received her J.D. from South Texas College of Law in 2002.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail (2020)

The National Park Trust transferred ownership of 239 acres of land to the National Park Service in one of the most popular areas of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT). The landowner wanted to sell before the National Park Service could accept it, so in June 2019, the Park Trust stepped in as owner until it could become part of the AT. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Conservation Fund purchased the land with funds from the Virginia Outdoor Foundation. Thousands of hikers each year see Hogan Hollow from McAfee Knob; the 3,197-foot overlook is thought to be one of the most scenic views on the AT. They say people take the more pictures here than any other place on the Appalachian Trail. Permanent protection by the National Park Service preserves natural views without the disruption of development or logging on the land.