As National Park Week (April 20-28) approaches, you’ll probably see the hashtag “#FindYourPark” show up on your timeline with increasing frequency. But what does finding your park actually mean? And can you still participate even if you don’t live near a national park?
According to Alanna Sobel, senior communications manager at the National Park Foundation, “Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque is a bilingual effort to inspire all people to make national parks a part of their everyday life.”
As for how to go about doing that, the best way to start is to figure out what interests you. National parks offer all kinds of activities and experiences—from arts and culture, to living history, to picnicking, to scenic drives, to moments of reflection, to outdoor recreation opportunities. And, as most regular national park visitors know, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Once you’ve figured out your preferred activity, it’s usually not hard to find a nearby park that can accommodate it. With its 419 units, the National Park System is so much more than just its 61 national parks. There are national historic sites, national battlefields, national monuments, national lakeshores, and more. FindYourPark.com and EncuentraTuParque.com feature a tool that lets your sort parks by both state and activity.
Finding your park doesn’t necessarily mean finding the one closest to you; it can also be a place where you have special memories. There’s no better time to share those memories than during National Park Week. If you can’t get to a national park to celebrate, you can still share tips, stories, and photos on social media using #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque.
During National Park Week, each day has a different theme celebrating various topics that make America’s parks great—from the wildlife to mental and physical benefits of visiting. Add in the fact that all parks are admission-free on Saturday, April 20, and you’ve got plenty of good reasons to get out and find your park. And even after National Park Week is over, you can still help your park out.
“Whether you donate, volunteer, or take a friend on their first national park adventure, you’re helping to preserve our parks and grow the community of national park champions,” says Alanna Sobel. “That’s what the National Park Foundation is all about. With more people caring about national parks, we can ensure they’ll thrive today and in the future.”
If you’re just now discovering America’s parks, or you’ve already found one of your own, make sure to show your support this National Park Week, and all year round.