July is National Parks & Rec Month

Sunset in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

Image via Wikipedia

The National Parks can only exist with help from the government (and we all know THEY don’t have money) and people like you and me.  There may be trees in these parks, but money doesn’t grow on them.  The expense to upkeep them is pretty substantial as well.  Take Yellowstone National Park as an example.

"Yellowstone National Park"The Yellowstone Association educates Yellowstone National Park visitors by offering trip planners, books, videos, and guided classes through Yellowstone Park by our field institute. The Yellowstone Association is located in Yellowstone National Park and promotes preservation of Yellowstone National Park through its educational Park Store bookstores, publication of books, and funding provided to Yellowstone through membership and sales of  educational materials to park visitors. Since 1933, the Yellowstone Association has been the National Park Service’s official partner in education in Yellowstone National Park.  On the chart to the left, you will see that the expenses for keeping up the park programs are overwhelming, while the Administrative and Fundraising expenses are relatively small.

In our own area, the Shenandoah National Park is tranquil and quiet, fully equipped with massive mountains, majestic woods, and stunning vistas. It seems like a little slice of wilderness heaven, full of wildflowers in the spring, unbelievable foliage in the fall, and opportunities to spot wildlife.  It is full of rugged trails, 500 miles to be exact – including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail, and serves as a refuge for many wild animals. There are over 200 resident and transient bird species, over 50 species of mammals, 51 reptile and amphibian species, and 30 fish species that can be found in the park.  Many visitors choose to drive Skyline Drive, which run for 105 miles along the peak of the Blue Ridge Mountains for a stunning view of the park. But step outside and gain a whole new perspective to this rich national park.

To maintain any National Park, donations and volunteers are essential.  If you’d like to learn more about how you can support the Shenandoah National Park, go to the following site  http://www.nps.gov/shen/supportyourpark/

Did You Know?

Shenandoah National Park may be one of the few places where you could see a spotted skunk sitting under a gray birch tree. The spotted skunk is at the northern part of its range while the gray birch is at the southern part of its range.

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