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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Kick Off the New Year with National Park Resolutions

January 11, 2022 GMT
A volunteer at Big Thicket National Preserve plants a longleaf pine sapling. Photo credit: NPS/Scott Sharaga
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A volunteer at Big Thicket National Preserve plants a longleaf pine sapling. Photo credit: NPS/Scott Sharaga
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A volunteer at Big Thicket National Preserve plants a longleaf pine sapling. Photo credit: NPS/Scott Sharaga

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- A new year invites everyone to reflect on the past 12 months and set intentions for the year to come. For that reason, the National Park Foundation (NPF) is excited to recommit to NPF’s important mission to protect national parks and connect all people to them, and share ideas for making national parks part of your 2022 resolutions as well.

Here are NPF’s 2022 ideas:

Discover a New Favorite Park
New year, new places! From historic structures and cultural sites to dazzling trails and rivers, national parks offer somewhere new to visit and something new to learn. And with over 400 national parks across the country, there is always a new favorite to discover and enjoy!

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As national parks welcome a growing number of visitors from around the country and world, it’s important to plan ahead for the needs of parks and park visitors while preserving these special places. NPF’s investments in parks of the future are helping to harness the power of technology and innovation to expand the ways people experience parks, including introducing folks to lesser-known parks. Visiting lesser-known parks expands people’s options and helps reduce the impact of increased visitation that is highly concentrated in a relatively few national parks.

Make Your Park Visits More Sustainable
When you’re making that visit to a new park, try to ensure that you’re minimizing the waste you create. Your actions in a park can affect plants, animals, other people, and even entire ecosystems. Bring along your own refillable water bottle, and use reusable containers, snack bags, plates, cutlery, or straws to reduce single-use packaging. When you’re ready to head out from the park, make sure you’re packing out what you packed in.

NPF’s work supporting resilience and sustainability in parks is helping to reduce the environmental impact on these treasured places by making park infrastructure more environmentally friendly and sustainable. With programs that reduce waste, promote recycling, invest in renewable and alternative energy sources, and conserve water, NPF and our partners are helping apply innovation and expertise to integrate sustainability practices into all aspects of park operations.

Try a New Park Activity
Whether you’re making a visit to a park that’s new to you or an old favorite, a great way to switch up your trip is to try a new activity. Maybe it’s a new ranger talk, a trail you’ve yet to venture down, a virtual experience, or visiting the park at a different time of day to catch the stars – there are so many ways to explore national parks!

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National parks hold the power to inspire a sense of wonder and love of adventure in each of us. NPF helps ensure all people see themselves in parks and feel welcome in these special places. NPF supports programs that encourage multicultural and multigenerational families to experience, enjoy, and create life-long relationships with national parks. By eliminating barriers, promoting access, and cultivating connections to all the health benefits the outdoors offer, NPF is helping create and deepen longstanding connections to parks.

Reflect on Our History
Each national park has collections of powerful stories to share. From the lives and legacies of civil rights leaders to the cultures and traditions of Indigenous peoples, national parks offer a unique lens through which to view and understand America’s multifaceted and ever-evolving history.

NPF’s support helps preserve historic sites and share more comprehensive and inclusive stories that amplify a broad range of experiences and voices that are woven into the fabric of the United States. This work helps ensure that parks are accessible, inclusive, and welcoming for present and future generations, and also helps people gain a deeper understanding of how the past connects to present day and their personal lives.

Become a Junior Ranger
You’re never too old to become a Junior Ranger! NPS’ Junior Ranger program helps connect visitors of all ages to our shared history, heritage, and national parks through fun and educational activities inspired by the parks.

NPF has supported the Junior Ranger Angler program, which introduces families to fishing opportunities in parks, and the creation of the Junior Ranger Railroad Explorer activity booklet, which explores the fascinating history of trains in our parks. Our Open OutDoors for Kids program has connected over one million kids to parks in exciting ways, including hybrid and distance learning activities. The experiences that NPF and our partners help make possible for students promote physical and emotional health, civic engagement, and a long-term appreciation for nature and national parks.

Spot Wildlife in a Park
Whether it is bison roaming in Badlands National Park or bald eagles soaring over Monocacy National Battlefield, national parks protect some of the most biologically diverse landscapes in the country. On your next park visit, see if you can track how many different species you spot. Just be sure to maintain a safe distance between yourself and any wildlife you may encounter, for the safety of you and the wildlife.

NPF’s support of landscape and wildlife conservation efforts help protect native wildlife and restore critical habitats and ecosystems in our parks. NPF funds critical ecosystem research that helps parks determine how environmental and human impacts are affecting parks, their habitats, and their wildlife. Habitat restoration and protection efforts put those findings into action, helping to restore parks’ habitats and wildlife populations.

Become Part of the Park Community
Parks flourish when we all work together. Make this year the one you join the community of park champions across the country who ensure our parks thrive for years to come.

Volunteer your time at a park near you, or support cooperating associations in parks, such as those that operate bookstores, develop park publications, or support additional educational programming in parks. Discover a park partner (also known as “Friends Groups”) organization that supports your favorite park or make a financial contribution to the National Park Foundation to support our many programs and projects. If parks are important to you, this is the year to get involved!

NPF’s support of communities and workforce programs highlight the power of this type of teamwork and collective dedication. Supporting an expansive network of local nonprofit organizations, volunteer groups, and service corps, NPF aims to grow the capacity of our partners, as well as inspire and diversify the next generation of outdoor leaders. From empowering internships to supporting a diverse network of service corps crews and beyond, NPF is enhancing the power of collective efforts in support of parks.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation works to protect wildlife and park lands, preserve history and culture, educate and engage youth, and connect people everywhere to the wonder of parks. We do it in collaboration with the National Park Service, the park partner community, and with the generous support of donors, without whom our work would not be possible. Learn more at nationalparks.org.

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SOURCE National Park Foundation