Donors Maureen O’Leary and Mary Pat Gallagher

Maureen O’Leary and Mary Pat Gallagher

Stepping away from the day-to-day stress of living in our fast-paced world and into the unmatched beauty, fresh air, and star-filled skies of a national park is a gift. Everything slows down. Our tension dissipates and a sense of well-being takes over.

We’ve visited nearly 30 national parks – and we always say, trying to choose a favorite is like trying to name a favorite child. When each park is so unique and beautiful, the only choice is to love them all. The people we meet are friendly and interesting. And it’s wonderful to wake up knowing that the only thing we need to do is lace up our boots and enjoy a hike in the park.

That’s why, when we were reviewing our legacy plans, we chose to designate a portion of our estate to go to the National Park Foundation. One day, this gift will allow others to enjoy the parks as much as we have.

We plan our vacations around the parks we want to visit. We’ve hung out with sea otters at Glacier Bay … marveled at Maine’s rugged coastline … and stood under the looming branches of giant sequoia trees. Whatever park we’re in is our favorite at that moment. Zion National Park, Olympic National Park, and North Cascades National Park are all on our list to visit in the next few years.

When we talk to our friends who haven’t been to the parks, we always say, “What are you waiting for?” There’s a national park within easy traveling distance for nearly everyone, no matter what part of the country you’re in. And once you spend time in the parks – even if you’ve only been to one – you feel a responsibility to preserve all the beauty and history for future generations. It’s an obvious choice to support the parks. They are a national treasure.

It is more important than ever that those of us who can, step up and support these magnificent places. We want to see these wild places preserved to provide current and future generations education and enjoyment.

Every single time we visit a park, we return home with a renewed sense of wonder. We cherish the memories we’ve made in these amazing places, and it feels so good to know that we’re doing what we can to preserve them for the generations that come long after us.

« Back to all donor stories