More than a quarter-million-dollars worth of grants have been distributed to Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic national parks from Washington's National Park Fund, which has contributed more than $1.4 million to the parks during the past five years.
The grants support projects in science and research, youth and family programs, volunteerism and stewardship and visitor experiences.
The $300,000 in grants distributed this summer were made possible by a wide variety of contributions, including revenue from Washington State’s national park specialty license plates, proceeds from the Fund's Spring Dinner and Auction, donations from guests who stay in ARAMARK and Guest Services, Inc., park lodges, estate gifts, and generous donations from private individuals, corporations and foundations.
“Washington’s National Park Fund has very dedicated and generous donors who make it possible to show such support for our parks,” said Donovan Rafferty, president of the Fund's board of directors. “Gifts help our parks to reach the goals they’ve set out to achieve to continue making the parks places people love to visit and share with friends and family. We are able to help the parks remain an important place for everyone.”
Mount Rainier National Park has received grants for projects such as Connecting Students to Parks and Mount Rainier Adventures, two programs that help bring more youth into the park.
Mount Rainier has also received grants for science projects to study native animals, natural resources, and how the park can make less of an impact as they try to reduce their carbon footprint. In addition, a $50,000 grant was awarded to Mount Rainier for its volunteer programs. Each year, park staff partner with nearly 2,000 volunteers who support key operations throughout the park; together, they work on trail maintenance, revegetation efforts and citizen science projects.
"Mount Rainier National Park is very appreciative of the outstanding support we continue to receive from Washington's National Park Fund,” said Mount Rainier Superintendent Randy King. “Without this support, these projects would not be possible."
North Cascades National Park’s priority area also includes youth programming. The park has received grants for three different youth-related programs that are focused on providing park access to youth who don’t otherwise have it. Youth participate in stewardship-focused activities aimed at creating the park’s next generation of stewards.
North Cascades National Park also received grants to rebuild the North and South Fork areas of Bridge Creek, and to revise, distribute and print an educational brochure about the park’s bear population.
"The grants that the park received this year from Washington's National Park Fund help us to continue our work to reach new audiences and provide fun and memorable family experiences," said Charles Beall, the park's acting-superintendent. "We appreciate the many individuals who love their parks and offer support for them through Washington's National Park Fund."
Olympic National Park has received grants to continue their vital research on the Roosevelt elk, mountain goats, and marmots, some of which are unique species to the park. The park will also be creating a guide for park visitors designed to bring awareness to alternative transportation through the park, encouraging visitors to rely less on individual car travel and more on public transportation.
In addition, Olympic will be replacing the ranger station at Glacier Meadows that serves as an important location for ranger presence due to its position on the trip many people make to the top of Mount Olympus.
“Washington’s National Park Fund’s charitable contributions enhance visitor access and experiences at Olympic,” Olympic National Park Acting-Superintendent Todd Suess said. “The research we are able to continue doing because of WNPF’s support allows the park to better preserve and protect both visitors as well as the native flora and fauna of our unique and delicate ecosystem.”
Washington's National Park Fund is the only philanthropic organization dedicated exclusively to supporting Olympic, North Cascades and Mount Rainier National Parks through charitable contributions. All gifts to the Fund are fully tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. To learn more about Washington’s National Park Fund, visit www.wnpf.org.