“When you grow up with a family who own livestock, you don’t get to go on typical family vacations,” explained Susan Harbaugh of Illinois. “Visiting the national parks as adults is our way to live out our childhood longing for that iconic American family vacation.”
Susan and her husband, Will, were both raised in rural communities, and although they may have missed out on the stereotypical family road trip growing up, they have more than made up for it in their adult lives, having now traveled to 48 national parks and counting. The walls of their home are peppered with photos from their trips, and their bookshelves contain dozens of scrapbooks of their various park adventures.
Connecting with nature, embracing the spectacular scenery, and enjoying the wildlife are a constant source of joy for Susan and Will when they go to the parks. “With the crazy lifestyle we lead – the fast-paced world we live in – at the parks you can go unplug and focus on each other and nature.”
They started out giving annual gifts to the National Park Foundation, but when it came time for Susan and Will to create a will, it felt only natural that they would include a percentage to the parks. Susan shared, “After working for a not-for-profit agency for many years, I learned how important donations of any size are to an organization such as the National Park Foundation. So when it came to do our estate planning, donating a percentage of our assets fit with our goals.”
As we mark the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Susan and Will want to make sure the parks are funded and able to be enjoyed far into the next century. Susan said, “We want to do something for future generations of park visitors, both the two-legged and four-legged variety.” She went on to explain that she thinks the parks are the “greatest gift to average citizens that is often just a car ride away.”
Like Susan and Will Harbaugh, anyone can make a gift to the National Park Foundation in their will. A percentage of any amount can have a huge future impact. Contact the National Park Foundation to find out how a planned gift may work for you.