During this government shutdown, National Parks are keeping their gates open though visitor centers and other services are closed. Some park rangers are even working without pay, but the majority of staff are out and there's a risk of more damage to the parks as they remain open and unsupervised. National Park funding in general has been very weak in recent years, not only during the Trump administration but also the years of Republican congresses before that.
You can't donate directly to a national park, since they're funded by the government (you can donate to the government but can't direct that money to any particular purpose). However, nearly every park has a partner nonprofit organization. These groups do a lot of things you might think are solely funded by the park service:
- Hire interns for the National Park.
- Fund trail repairs and facility maintenance.
- Organize cleanups and invasive species removal.
- Run activities for visitors, like guided walks.
- Fund research and conservation projects.
I donate to Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the South Florida National Parks Trust (supporting Everglades, Dry Tortugas, Biscayne, & Big Cypress). FHVNP is especially in need of funds now, after several months of more active eruptions and daily earthquakes in the first half of 2018 wrecked a lot of park trails and facilities that the National Park Service is not going to have the money to repair and reopen. And South Florida is one of the most ecologically interesting and sensitive areas in North America, under threat due to large cities and lots of industry.
You can donate to those two, or search for the nonprofit partners of some of your favorite National Parks, or ones that you know need protection. And tell me about some of them!
Crossposted from Dreamwidth - link to original post ( comments on DW)