How One Couple’s Love of Parks Will Live On

Bison Legacy Society founding members Rosemary and John Tiernan have spent a lifetime outdoors, teaching their children and grandchildren about the importance of connecting to the natural world. As donors to National Park Trust, they see their legacy and love for parks continuing on in a permanent way that will benefit the entire country.

Rosemary and John Tiernan grew up in New Jersey, visiting parks along the east coast and establishing their relationship with the outdoors at a young age. Rosemary escaped city-life by visiting her grandparents’ farm in Saddle River, NJ, where she could unwind in rolling meadows and swim in a stream that ran through the farm. John connected to nature as a Boy Scout, camping throughout the year from a young age.

“Once you develop that love of nature, and a love of the land, then you feel a stewardship, a responsibility,” noted Rosemary. “It is so important for children to have that opportunity to connect to the outdoors.”

Knowing this importance, the Tiernan’s actively worked to ensure their children and grandchildren had the same opportunities to connect with the natural world. They took regular family vacations to local and national parks. With family now spread across the country, they use parks like Muir Woods National Monument to reconnect with one another.

Now with more free time, Rosemary and John have made a point of visiting the larger national parks that are on their bucket list. Their most recent trip stretched 2,000+ miles with stops in Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Mount Rushmore. “You can see it on a TV screen, or read about it in a book, but it’s nothing like being there and experiencing the magnitude of these places,” said John.

Understanding the need for a connection to nature, they wanted to provide that same refuge to others, a space to breathe fresh air and understand the beauty and importance of nature to their daily lives.

In 2017, the Tiernan’s joined our Bison Legacy Society as founding members, a group of extraordinary people who provide future support for National Park Trust through bequests, financial accounts, retirement plans, life insurance policies, and charitable trusts. They view their support of NPT through the Bison Legacy Society as a “no-brainer;” it is a way for them to continue to preserve these places and teach children the importance of protecting these treasured spaces for the future. It is their legacy.

“Many hands make light work. If we all do a little bit we can protect these places and raise a new generation of park stewards to carry on this legacy,” said Rosemary.

The Tiernans chose to support the Bison Legacy Society because they’ve learned that, “NPT is very efficient; I don’t think there is a penny ever wasted, and so you feel as though your dollars are actually doing good, that they will be well-used,” stated Rosemary.

National Park Trust is proud to report that in fiscal year 2017, 89% of our resources were invested in our park preservation and youth education programs and we have been given the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar and an “A” rating from Charity Watch. We are good stewards of our parks and your gifts!

We invite you to join Rosemary and John in protecting our national parks in perpetuity. If you are interested in becoming a Bison Legacy Society member or have questions, please contact Rebecca Hansell, NPT’s program and office administrator at or download this form here. Thank you!