Just before the end of 2014, National Park Trust received word of an extraordinary bequest of $500,000 from John Michael Kauffmann, a longtime NPT supporter. He served for many years as a park planner for NPS where he assisted in the establishment of the C&O Canal National Historical Park and the Cape Cod National Seashore. In 1972, NPS relocated John to Alaska to study areas under consideration for designation as national parks, monuments, and reserves. His work contributed to the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, permanently conserving more than 100 million acres
His estate has instructed that the bequest be used for park land acquisition in a manner that honors the legacy of John’s mentor, Ben Thompson, former NPS Assistant Director for Resource Planning. Thompson, a close colleague of George Wright, was a University of California biologist. In the 1930’s, he accompanied close colleagues George Wright and Joseph Dixon on the first wildlife surveys of the national parks and subsequently helped to establish the program of Biological Research and Management in NPS.