Happy National Public Lands Day! While tomorrow is usually marked by volunteer events across the country, today the team at Parks Project is reflecting on our love for public lands and what they mean for us.
What was the first national park you ever visited?
“I was probably 14 years old and went to visit my uncle in Tennessee. We went to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and rode some horses. Mine was named Buttercup and I was not good at steering him.” —Jess Lim
“I inherited my love for the outdoors from my dad—he's a natural in the woods and he took me camping in Hocking Hills State Park a lot when I was a kid. I loved every minute of it, especially any chance I had to get muddy.” —Abbey Robertson
Why are public lands important to you?
“They're places I get to share with others that have never been. I can't tell you how excited I get to show someone a park for the first time, it's the best!” —Sevag Kazanci
“I love to get out in nature. Everything slows down when you are outdoors and I get the chance to reset and put things into perspective. I always remind myself how lucky I am to be able to be out there and experience that.” —Elena Colagrande
“We were not rich growing up, but we had a rich family life full of vacations to our public lands, national monuments, and parklands. Now I can give the same experiences to my own kids and it is such a gift.” —Katherine Everett
What’s your favorite park experience?
“In college, I took my midterm exam in a campsite in Yellowstone during a sustainable energy field course. It's so memorable because the test was enjoyable because we were outside. The whole time I was thinking "why are we inside so much?." I think it'd do humanity some good if we all got outside more.” —Lian Wardrop
“Rafting on the Merced in Yosemite in the summer—it's so special! You can rent a raft in the morning, pack a lunch, and drift along the Merced all day, stop along the sand bars, look for bears, and get a nice arm workout.” —Taylor Nowaskie
Why are public lands meaningful and why should they be preserved?
“If we don’t, there will be nothing left. Safeguarding the last of our wild places feels like the only right thing to do.” —Julia Calles
“Because it's a great spot for people from all backgrounds to experience nature and come together and It needs to be preserved for all following generations.” —Whitney Eberenz