Donor Marlene Kennedy

A Collection of Wonderful Memories

With our families spread out across the country, my husband Alex and I started planning trips to bring everyone together in our beautiful national parks. First it was just with my parents, but soon enough my brother and sister joined with their families. We created so many wonderful memories over the years at places like Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Acadia National Park. I always loved reminiscing about these adventures with my parents during their later years

As Alex and I enjoy our retirement years, traveling to national parks continues to be a big part of our lives. From the sheer vastness of Denali National Park and Preserve that made us feel so small, to the awe-inspiring force of nature at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, we always come back home feeling enriched.

Of course, there was that one unfortunate incident where I locked the keys inside our rental car at Joshua Tree National Park. We were stopped at Turkey Flats, which is a less traveled area with little to no shade or cell phone service. But park people are good people. And a pack of hikers we met insisted on leaving us with bottles of water and reporting our situation to the visitor’s center. In just over an hour, a kind park ranger arrived to open our car door and we were back on the road!

We will always treasure the memories we’ve made in our national parks, even the ones that didn’t always go as planned. When we decided it was time to put our affairs in order, we recognized that our retirement accounts could do some good when we no longer need them. When reflecting on what matters to us the most, the national parks were high on our list. So, we wrote in “the National Park Foundation” as a beneficiary on our retirement account forms. It was easy and we didn’t even need a lawyer.

You might think that a “legacy gift” is something only millionaires can do — but everyone has an opportunity to make an impact. It feels great knowing that we will leave our mark on the world with a gift that ensures people can enjoy our magnificent parks for many years to come.

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