Donors Monica and Buddy McSwain

The Parks are a Symbol of Our Nation
Stewardship Circle Donors Monica & Buddy McSwain

We’ve created so many wonderful memories in our national parks. When she was about ten years old, we took our daughter, Megan, to Yellowstone. We had such a wonderful time that we planned a park trip every summer after that until Megan graduated from college.

Since Megan has been grown, she hasn’t been able to join us on our park journeys as often—but we’ve continued to enjoy traveling just the two of us or with friends. And now that we have a one-year-old granddaughter, we’re hoping to take her with us on our park adventures in a few years!

We’ve visited 58 parks so far. And at each and every park we visit, from Denali to Glacier to Gettysburg, we make sure to get out our camera tripod and take a “sign picture” of ourselves next to the park entrance sign. Those pictures are precious reminders of how much we enjoy our visits to the parks with friends and family.

One of our all-time favorite national park experiences was a weeklong ranger-guided hike through the High Sierras of Yosemite with good friends. We were hiking 8 to 10 miles a day, at elevations of 8,000 to 10,000 feet, through the most beautiful mountain scenery imaginable. We have fond memories of drying our socks over the wood stove like marshmallows.

The national parks mean so much to our family. But government funding for the parks is stretched thin and private dollars are critical. Without funds, our parks suffer reduced staffing and minimum maintenance. We hope our gifts to the National Park Foundation will help maintain and restore the parks so that our grandkids and their grandkids will be able to enjoy the many gifts they have to offer.