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Top 5 ways to support national parks

Kristin Bustamante is a writer and editor who loves her craft. When she's not hunkered down at her computer, she's playing with her family, enjoying the outdoors or experimenting in the kitchen.

Support the parks

The U.S. has more than 380 national parks and monuments. That's more than 84 million acres of fun, adventure and opportunities to make memories with your family. Here are a few ways we can help support the National Park Service in its mission to keep our country's beauty accessible to all.

Woman at national park with baby

1Plan a visit

While about 75 percent of the parks are free for use, some require fees to help with upkeep of recreation areas and campgrounds. If you are fortunate enough to live near a national park or monument, consider purchasing an annual park pass from the U.S. National Park Service. The NPS offers varying levels of access, and interagency park passes are available for frequent park visitors. When you book your parks visit through Expedia, 50 percent of the trip's profits are donated to the national parks system.

2Volunteer

Become a VIP by joining the NPS' Volunteers-in-Parks program. Volunteers donate both time and expertise. Opportunities include working as a tour guide, host or general volunteer. You can view volunteer opportunities by park or state here.

3Get the kids involved

Kids of all ages can volunteer at their local national parks or monuments. These programs are divided by age group. Teens ages 15 to 18 can get paid to live in and help out at national parks as part of the Youth Conservation Corps.

Boy Scouts (ages 7 to 18) and Girl Scouts (ages 5 to 18) can earn patches by being honorary rangers for the National Park Service.

4Support the National Park Foundation

The National Park Foundation was formed by Congress as the official charity of America's national parks. Monetary gift options include outright, recurring and corporate gifts, as well as gifts of stock and estate planning options.

5Join in the National Parks Project

Travel pro Samantha Brown and Nature Valley have teamed up to benefit the National Parks Conservation Association through a number of programs and events. At the National Parks Project website, you'll find tons of park travel tips and ideas as well as additional ways you can support national parks.

More on National Parks

Guide to visiting national parks with kids
Best 10 national U.S. parks
More national parks

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