Washington’s National Park Fund is on a mission to support the state’s national parks, and the recently announced $1.13 million investment is proof of their unwavering commitment.
The funds will be distributed to over 40 research, cultural, environmental, and stewardship projects, with North Cascades, Mount Rainier, and Olympic National Parks being the primary beneficiaries.
The contribution is the largest to date, a testament to the growing generosity of the donors and the success of the fund’s fundraising efforts.
According to a report from The Colombian, North Cascades National Park received $114,225 for projects covering environmental stewardship, historical conservation, and Indigenous communities. Funded projects include rare carnivore research, including studies related to wild fishers.
A portion of this will go towards a five-year project aimed at rehabilitating and constructing greenhouses, adding garden beds to tribal lands, and growing sustainable food plants in partnership with local tribes. This project will provide Indigenous youth hands-on training in food sustainability and native plant education. The park will also benefit from the digitization of the 1963 North Cascades Study Commission photographs and the “Adopt-A-Whitebark Pine” project, among others.
Mount Rainier National Park received the lion’s share of the funds, with a $630,768 investment to improve the Wonderland Trail and develop an online, accessible trail guide. The park will also receive support for aquatic surveys, restoration, and the 200 alpine trail Meadow Rover volunteers.
Olympic National Park received a $385,771 investment, a portion of which will develop a Native Conservation Corps program with members of the Quileute Tribe and elk monitoring in the Hoh River drainage. The park will also receive additional youth programs.
The funds come from donations, foundation grants, fundraising climbs, and the statewide national park license plate program. With such a diverse collection of projects, the investment is poised to significantly advance science and research, improve visitors’ experiences, expand volunteerism and stewardship, and embrace inclusion.
The park fund’s CEO, Laurie Ward, expressed her pride in the record-breaking year, which saw an additional $380,000 being set aside for distribution to the parks when they are ready to implement additional programs. Washington’s National Parks will undoubtedly benefit from this investment, and the state can look forward to continued growth and improvement in the years to come.