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How To Help National Parks During The Shutdown

How To Help National Parks During The Shutdown

Writer and conservationist Wallace Stegner said that America’s national parks are “the best idea we ever had. They reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” But more than a century after the first national parks were founded, these pristine natural landscapes need our help. Thanks to the ongoing partial government shutdown, many national parks remain open but with severely limited access and staffing. These beautiful spots have suffered from overflowing garbage cans, damaged natural resources and unmaintained restrooms. As dedicated lovers of the great outdoors, TURNER wanted to know what we can do to help. Here’s what we found out. 

Give Today

National Parks are in need of funds, first and foremost. One of the best places for your cash is the National Park Foundation’s Parks Restoration Fund. It's the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. By donating to the Parks Restoration Fund, your donations will go to the parks that need help the most. The National Park Foundation works across the National Park Service and other park partners to assess needs and provide clean-up efforts once the parks are back open.  Donate now Another option is the National Forest Foundation. Your support will help this nonprofit care for 193 million acres of National Forests and Grasslands. These spots offer visitors remarkable beauty, clear streams, majestic mountains, open valleys, and much more. Donate now

Volunteer

Parks rely on volunteers to support their work 365 days a year. But the ongoing shutdown will make volunteers even more necessary to hit the ground running with clean-up efforts when the parks are fully operational. Once again, the National Park Foundation is a great resource. Sign up here to receive news and information about what you can do at your nearby national park once the government reopens.

Support Local Communities

The National Park Conservation Association (NPCA) estimates that on an average day in January, 425,000 park visitors spend $20 million in nearby communities. Because of the partial government shutdown this year, that amount has shrunk considerably. By visiting these communities and patronizing local businesses, you can help minimize the impact.

Explore State Parks

So you’ve donated to keep your national parks in great shape. Next, take the chance to explore some state parks, which remain fully operational. It's a win-win. It will reduce strain on the national parks and you get to discover some incredible spots. A few options include:

  • Grayton Beach State Park – Consistently ranking among the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the United States, this South Walton, Florida state park provides an idyllic setting for swimming, sunbathing and surf fishing. The sunsets are legendary.
  • Rio Grande Nature Center State Park – Located on the central Rio Grande flyway near Albuquerque, New Mexico, Rio Grande Nature Center State Park is a year-round paradise for birdwatchers. You’ll have the chance to observe about 250 species of birds here, including roadrunners and wood ducks.
  • Lory State Park – This 2,591-acre foothills gem in the northern Rocky Mountain Front Range (not too far from Estes Park, Colorado and Rocky Mountain National Park) offers endless outdoor recreation. Mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing and much more!
  • Tumalo State Park – Central Oregon’s Tumalo State Park, just minutes from Bend and the Sunriver Valley, is set right on the beautiful Deschutes River. It’s a perfect spot for wildlife viewing, fishing and much more.
  • Tomigbee State Park – Located just south of Tupelo, Mississippi (birthplace of Elvis!), Tomigbee delivers picturesque southern beauty and great fishing on Lake Lee.
  • Indian Cave State Park – Named for the mysterious sandstone cave within the park, Nebraska’s Indian Cave State Park offers more than 3,000 acres of western landscapes and scenic splendor.
  • Curt Gowdy State Park – Located near Cheyenne, Wyoming, Curt Gowdy State Park is a favorite among mountain bikers. Recently named “Epic” by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, it features more than 35 miles of trails.
  • Montaña de Oro State Park – A seven-mile stretch of coastal beauty in San Luis Obispo County, Montaña de Oro State Park is a California dream come true. Rugged cliffs, secluded beaches and miles of trails await.
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