We'll come right out and say it: We need your support.
The growing number of readers tells us there's great interest in knowing what's going on out there in the National Park System, whether the stories revolve around a checklist for touring a national park, information on events in the parks, or the latest search-and-rescue mission. And we've been working hard to meet your needs, too, and not once a month, or once a quarter, but every day.
The stories on the Traveler are not merely aggregated from other sources and posted to the site. Our small staff of volunteers gets out and hikes trails, visits parks, and makes phone calls to supplement information we receive via press releases. We've brought you stories about Jennifer Pharr Davis, who owns the women's speed record for hiking the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and has just launched a bid to eclipse the men's record; we've talked to Andrew Skurka about his hike around Alaska; and we've tried to stay abreast of court rulings that impact the parks. Dip into our archives and you'll find thousands of park-related stories, reviews, puzzles, and mysteries.
That's a good start, but we sense you want more. And we're working to accommodate your varied interests. Most recently we launched the first in a series of "park pages" that can help you prepare for your national park vacation. And, of course, David and Kay Scott have been filing regular dispatches on the state of lodging in the national parks.
Earlier this year we also organized an essay contest to get more youth thinking about the national parks and how valuable they are to all of us.
All this takes time, fingers flying across the keyboard, and a love for the national parks.
Now, the give-and-take that the Internet allows between writers and readers, we like to think, has forged something of a bond between us. Along with providing you with information on the national parks, we've also given you an outlet to vent your frustrations over park policies, debate different means for enjoying the parks, share your own discoveries with other readers, and even suggest stories for us to pursue.
We need your support so we can continue encouraging exploration, enjoyment, and understanding of the park system, so we can nurture more advocates for the national parks, and so we can grow the Traveler with richer, more plentiful, meaningful, and helpful content. For individual supporters, we're suggesting an annual donation of $15, (though we certainly wouldn't decline larger contributions). Fifteen dollars generally is less than the cost of one night in a national park campground and a pittance when measured against a decent pair of hiking boots.
Yet it helps us provide you with 365-days-a-year coverage of the finest park system in the world.
How would your donation help the Traveler?
It'd go toward the costs of our server, pay for software updates to the site, reimburse the volunteers who have willingly donated their time and knowledge to offer you a diverse mix of park-related articles, and help us attract more writers, such as Meghan Hicks, who wrote the other day about trail running at Death Valley National Park.
If you look forward to surfing over to the Traveler -- whether once a week or every day of the week -- to see what's going on in the parks, if you've ever contacted us with a question about the parks, or if you've found our checklists helpful for your park visits, please help us stay on-line.
You can contribute via PayPal (if you have a PayPal account, you can email donations to firstname.lastname@example.org) by sending a check to National Park Advocates, LLC, at P.O. Box 980452, Park City, Utah, 84098, or encouraging businesses and organizations that operate in the parks to help sponsor the Traveler or advertise on our site. We are not affiliated with the National Park Service (that's why we can at times question their actions), and, unfortunately, the IRS doesn’t consider us a non-profit, so you can’t claim a donation to the Traveler as a tax-deductible contribution.
But we can promise that your contribution will help ensure that when you get up in the morning or turn the computer on after dinner that the Traveler will be there to provide a window into the national parks.