Every April, America celebrates one of its largest celebrations of national heritage through National Park Week. Recognized by a presidential proclamation, it is a special time to celebrate national parks and programs across the country and to encourage everyone to discover the nation's diverse natural and cultural heritage.
From April 17 to 25, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation is inviting all to explore amazing places and discover stories of adventures, history, and culture. With more than 400 national parks in our country, National Park Week is a great time to #FindYourPark and show you care—all from the comforts of your home.
In honor of National Park Week, we called on all national park adventurers in our FCS and ADEC ESG teams to join in on the celebration and connect with the park community across the country by sharing their favorite memories about national parks. Our team shared some of their personal connections to the great outdoors and wonders of parks.
George Lu, Associate Director, ESG Technical Services
Before starting my 2nd job out of college, my future supervisor forced me to take 2 weeks off between jobs, which was the best advice I’ve ever received. Luckily, my good friend that loves hiking was also available, so we planned a road trip out to Yellowstone, Zion, and Bryce for those 2 weeks. Given it was the summer, we decided to try a couple of things: waking up at 4am each day to get onto the trails before sunrise and sleeping under the stars each night. Between seeing some of the most beautiful and mesmerizing sights, the constant and comforting feeling of “we are visitors in the animals’ home,” getting chased by bears and saved by deer, and syncing with the earth’s rhythm, the experience instantly crystallized as a cornerstone of my soul. The energy and feelings that those areas evoke are a soothing and much needed reminder of the earth’s and life’s infinite beauty.
Patrick Schultz, Senior Vice President
One of the highlights of an otherwise pretty dreary 2020 was spending the day with my kids and their partners at Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington State. We had all been in quarantine for months before this day and it was wonderful to get outside on a gloriously sunny day and get some hiking in. It felt like things were “normal” that day.
Ashley Chin, Marketing Specialist
America's natural landscapes are our history. They're older than any law and greater than any cathedral, irreplaceable and inimitable. In Hawaii, we're lucky enough to have two national parks, both based around volcanoes—bringers of destruction and of life for hundreds of thousands of years. As a kid, I'd always complain that it took hours by plane to get to Disneyland or Universal Studios, when really parks bursting with life, adventure, and unique stories were right next door.
Jacki Fricke, Senior Marketing Manager
Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most amazing places on the planet. My husband and I spent a lot of time bouldering and hiking there early in our relationship. We got engaged on top of a boulder pile 15 years ago, and I had to work for it. Unbeknownst to me, he wanted to get to a place where we couldn’t see any other people or cars, so we climbed to the top of many piles before he found the perfect spot. This park is in our family’s hearts daily, as we named our son ‘Joshua’ to honor its magic.
Kevin Bolland, Environmental Analyst
The National Parks mean a lot to me. I have many memories backpacking, camping, and spending time with friends and family in many of them. I have always been inspired by the diverse biomes that are preserved for the enjoyment of others, due in large part to the hard work of many generations of people who love the outdoors. I have read, seen, and heard many stories about the fathers of conservation, and I was always intrigued by the lives of John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, and Theodore Roosevelt in particular. “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world”-John Muir.
Kristy Nguyen, Associate Director, Finance
I took my son, Tyler, to Yosemite in June of 2018. It was his first national park experience. I did not think that a 12-year-old would enjoy a big hiking trip with his mom. But much to my surprise, he thoroughly enjoyed every hike and every activity we did. He took his time looking at the trees, the waterfalls we saw. We even had two bear encounters. One vivid memory I have of the trip was when we got to the top of Nevada Fall, you can see him resting on that large rock there. He said to me, “Who knew this little piece of heaven is not too far from us." It makes me smile every time I think of that moment.
Christel Calilung, Marketing Coordinator
Each year, my family plans a big summer trip to the typical touristy spots—Hawaii, Mexico, Florida—basically anywhere with sandy beaches and Pina Coladas. One summer, my parents announced that we would be doing something a little different; we would be camping in Yosemite Valley so that we could experience “sleeping under the stars.” Needless to say, they were met with our disdain as my 3 siblings and I were a far cry from being nature enthusiasts. However, as we hiked through the Valley and marveled at Yosemite’s tallest waterfall, biked through the windy trails, and stargazed each evening at the dark sky looking for constellations, it ended up being one of our most favorite trips. Unplugged from our phones and the outside world, and actually being present, Yosemite is a memory I’ll always cherish with my family and look forward in creating a new memory with my little one on the way.
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