The first six months of 2024 have been packed with amazing events! National Park Trust is proud to work with the military community, including active military and Gold Star Families, military family survivors, National Guard and Reserve, veterans, their families, and caregivers. We provide these dedicated servicemen and women and their families with memorable outdoor park experiences in a variety of public parks, lands, and waters nationwide. Check out some of our favorite highlights so far this year:

Exploring San Antonio Missions National Historical Park: A Cycling Adventure for Military Families

In March, nearly 10 miles flew by as we pedaled alongside military families through San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, thanks to a collaboration between the National Park Trust, National Park Service (NPS), and USAA. Families visited Mission ConcepciĆ³n for a private tour before biking through the scenic San Antonio Missions bike trail to explore Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada with park rangers, immersing themselves in the missions’ rich cultural heritage.

A Day of Healing and Fishing: Veterans Reconnect with Nature at Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River

In April, the National Park Trust, in collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS) and Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, orchestrated a transformative experience for veterans along the serene banks of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River in Pennsylvania. The day began with NPS rangers introducing the park and sharing its rich cultural and natural significance. Following a leisurely lunch on the riverbank, participants spent the afternoon honing their casting techniques, landing fish, and sharing stories about the bites they felt throughout the day. A highlight of the event was the presentation of the Interagency Military Annual Pass to participating service members, granting them access for one year to over 2,000 federal recreational sites, including all National Park Service locations.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area Exploration and Education with Military Families

In May, 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. The day began with a tour of the Golden Gate Nursery, where families learned about various plant species and transplanted 700 seedlings, contributing to the local ecosystem’s preservation. Despite rainy weather, the participants remained enthusiastic! The group toured the Nike Missile Site, SF-88, in the Marin Headlands, the most fully restored site of its kind in the country, which operated from 1953 to 1979 during the Cold War.

Fishing and Conservation: Texas Military Families Explore Flower Garden Banks Marine Sanctuary

In June, military families from across Texas gathered for a memorable day of fishing at the Flower Garden Banks Marine Sanctuary. This event, organized by the National Park Trust, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and NOAA, aimed to blend outdoor recreation with marine conservation education. Throughout the day, families learned how to hook bait and cast lines, quickly mastering the art of fishing. Small catfish were the first to be caught, followed by various other small game fish as the charter moved between multiple fishing spots.

A Day Among Giants: Healing and Exploration with TAPS Families

Also in June, eleven families enjoyed a day in Sequoia National Park, thanks to a collaboration between the National Park Trust, National Park Service (NPS), and Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors (TAPS). The day began with a ranger-led interpretive talk at the Giant Forest Museum, where families learned about the history and significance of the towering sequoias. They then hiked among these majestic trees in the Giant Forest, marveling at their immense size and beauty. The adventure concluded with a scenic lunch at Beetle Rock, offering breathtaking views and a perfect end to a memorable day.

We are gearing up to bring more amazing experiences to military communities for the second part of the year. Stay tuned – more adventures are coming!