National Park Week comes around every year – it’s a time for us all to celebrate these amazing places around the country. This year, the Trust had even more to celebrate – it’s our 10th birthday!
Since 2007, the Trust has given over $1.2 million to support projects and programs in Shenandoah National Park. At a time when our national parks are facing both record visitation and reduced budgets, public-private partnerships like this are vital to ensure these special places are protected.
National Park week also kicked off a successful campaign to support and raise awareness for our internship program in Shenandoah. Trust donors help to fund up to 6 internship positions in the park’s Education & Interpretation Department each year. These interns spend 12 weeks in the park learning skills from public speaking to search and rescue, and interacting with nearly 8,000 park visitors both in the visitor centers and on the trails leading education programs.
“By interacting with rangers, volunteers, and visitors, I was able to get an idea of what a National Park Service career would be like. I have gained confidence in pursuing this career, a better understanding of the value of our National Parks, greater knowledge of the glorious natural and cultural resources of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and countless skills in writing, interpreting, public speaking, and more.” – Laura Kelly, 2016 NPS Intern
National Park Week was capped off with another special event – Ride the Drive. Your park closed down the north end of Skyline Drive to motorized vehicles for the day. By all accounts it was a cyclists paradise – and the weather even held out! “To enjoy the beauty of Skyline Drive without worrying about cars was wonderful. I was able to look around and enjoy the views. The types of bicycles varied a lot… mountain bikes, tandems, recumbents, fancy expensive bikes but also many older, more casual bikes. It was refreshing to see.” said Karen Kim, a cyclist who participated in the event. It seems it was a unique experience, says David Cottingham, “Wildflowers were blooming in wonderful arrays. We could hear the birds singing because there was no traffic noise. The NPS staff and volunteers were so friendly and helpful.”
In addition to being a fun event, Ride the Drive also raised over $4,000 for the Trust that will towards our many projects and programs this year.
Special thanks to our National Park Week Partners:
Kath, blogger at Kath Eats Real Food