Most Impressive Moments in National Parks in 2020

by Kayla Zadel

The end of the year is typically a time for reflection. We’re taking this opportunity to look back on some of the memorable moments from the National Park Foundation.

Throughout 2020, many people took to the outdoors to find comfort and escape the madness. A newfound appreciation for the wilderness has come out of these trying times.

As a result, the National Park Foundation is furthering its efforts to protect the 85 million acres of land and water that encompass the National Park System, states the National Parks website. Additionally, the NPF connects people to the natural, historical, and cultural treasures that each park has to offer.

These are some of the highlights from this year that continue to further the National Park Foundation’s mission.

National Park Foundation Continues to Protect Wildlife

Preserving the species and habitats is just one initiative that highlights the NPF this year. Some of those include wolves, golden eagles, and cutthroat trout at Yellowstone National Park, bonneted bats in Everglades National Park, salmon at Olympic National Park, and elk at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. 

The NPF also provides financial support to Glacier National Park. They’re preparing for the return of bison for the first time in 150 years. The funding allows the park Wildlife Conservation Society, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Blackfeet Tribe to measure the impact of the bison’s return on the park’s habitat, its diverse species, and cultural resources.

As a matter of fact, this photo is just one example of how the NPF helped introduce wolves back into the Yellowstone National Park.

“The wolf population has now stabilized and the example set by NPS and Yellowstone National Park demonstrates important lessons in understanding wolf ecology worldwide,” part of the caption reads.

Preserving Historic Landmarks

NPF provides funding that helps preserve and restore historical landmarks that help remember important moments in our nation’s history.

This year the entity is establishing Pullman National Monument in Chicago. This is the city’s first National Park Service unit. It commemorates pivotal moments in the nation’s labor and civil rights history. Furthermore, the monument includes the founding of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. This is the first African American labor Unit.

Construction is already underway on a new visitor center at the Pullman Administration Clock Tower Building. The location will have audio and visual exhibits that tell stories of industrial innovation. It also shows worker’s struggle for economic and social equity at Pullman, a press release states.

Investing in Next Generation of Park Stewards

The National Park Foundation is investing in more than $3.7 million in programs that allow aspiring young adults and veterans to develop the skills they need to become caretakers of the parks.

One of these groups is the all-women Nevada Conservation Corporation. This post on Instagram highlights some of the women that were involved in the program this summer.

In addition to the women’s service corps, the National Park Foundation supports the resource crew at Great Basin National Park and Northwest Youth Corps LGBTQ+ Inclusion Crews.

Telling Untold Stories

Debuting this year, NPF’s Women in Park initiate is helping support projects and programs that tell a more well-rounded story the includes the stories of Black women, Indigenous women, and all women of color.

NPF provided 23 inaugural grants totaling more than $460,000 in funding as part of its Women in Parks initiative. This includes an exhibit interpreting and celebrating the life and legacy of Coretta Scott King. She was a leader for the civil rights movement in the 1960s and wife to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Additionally, an online exhibit is being created at Harpes Ferry National Historial Park. It will show the evolution of women’s National Park Service uniforms.

Connecting People to Parks

Bringing people out in nature is another highlight of the year. Not only did the NPF encourage people to get outside, but they also brought the outdoors inside so they could enjoy the beauty and wonder from their homes.

Furthermore, some of these program includes virtual tours and experiences, educational games and national parks trivia.