In May 2024, seven military families had an inspiring day immersed in nature and history at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, thanks to a collaboration between the National Park Trust, National Park Service (NPS), and Our Military Kids. This partnership provides National Guard, Reserve, and post-9/11 combat-injured service members and their families with access to outdoor recreation opportunities in national park sites across the country. 

The day began with a tour of the Golden Gate Nursery. After being educated on the different plant species and their care, the families enthusiastically transplanted 700 seedlings. It was rewarding work, knowing they were contributing to the preservation and growth of the local ecosystem.

After the nursery, the group embarked on a private tour of the Nike Missile Site, the most fully restored site of its kind in the country. This site, known as SF-88 in the Marin Headlands, operated from 1953 to 1979 during the tense years of the Cold War. It was one of nearly 300 Nike missile sites built by the United States Army as the last line of defense against H-bomb-carrying Soviet bombers. Despite the rainy weather, everyone remained in high spirits throughout the day. By the end of the tour, the sun broke through the clouds, casting a warm glow over the missile site and the families!

As part of this event, participating military families were presented with their Interagency Military Annual Pass, which provides entrance or access for one year to more than 2,000 federal recreational sites, including all National Park Service sites, for current military members and their dependents.

This event at Golden Gate National Recreation Area is the second of four outdoor recreation-focused events in 2024 hosted by this partnership. Other event locations include Indiana Dunes National Park, IN, Mammoth Cave National Park, KY, and Zion National Park, UT.

The program, supported by the NPS and coordinated by National Park Trust and Our Military Kids, doesn’t just offer special outings for military members and their loved ones. It also emphasizes the significance of nurturing ties with nature and forging community connections. These trips allow families to enjoy the great outdoors, learn new skills, and create lasting memories, reinforcing the invaluable role national parks play in promoting recreation, education, and family well-being.