What's a great way to stay on top of your favorite national park -- aside from reading the Traveler? Join its friends group, foundation, or natural history association.
Often one of the perks of such membership is a quarterly newsletter or magazine. For instance:
* The Yellowstone Association Institute sends out, in addition to seasonal copies of the park's newspaper, a quarterly publication called Yellowstone Discovery. Inside this publication you'll find a range of articles. The winter issue, for instance, had a feature on how wolves are affecting aspen groves in the park; a shopping guide revolving around Yellowstone-specific items such as guidebooks, kids books, Yellowstone Association-branded fleece outerwear; and an interview with photographer Tom Murphy, who built his career around the park.
* The Appalachian Trail Conservancy also has a glossy magazine, AT Journeys, that keeps you up to date with features that explore the trail and individuals and groups associated with it. For instance, the January-February issue contained a feature on Benton MacKaye and Myron Avery and their influence on America through the Appalachian Trail, and another on S.W.E.A.T -- the Smokies Wilderness Elite Appalachian Trail Crew.
* The Yosemite Conservancy rewards its members twice a year with its magazine that offers an insider’s view on park happenings, newsletters, updates on park projects, details on Yosemite Outdoor Adventure programs, and special events.
* Of course, if you join the National Parks Conservation Association your dollars go to advocating for the parks across the entire system, and you get their quarterly magazine, National Parks, with its great content.
Many of these organizations also give their members discounts to programs, seminars, and merchandise.
These are just a few examples of the many organizations out there that work hard to protect the units of the National Park System. With that in mind, the Traveler from time to time will point out good park groups to support and hope you'll agree. Contributing to them, whether they're in your backyard or across the country, not only is valuable to these organizations, but it helps you either keep on top of your favorite park or learn a thing or two about a new park.
And if you work for a friends group, drop us a line here at the Traveler so we can profile the good work that you do. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org