In February 2024, six military families embarked on an extraordinary adventure in the heart of Big Bend National Park, thanks to a collaboration between the National Park Trust, National Park Service (NPS), and USAA.

The first day began with a captivating hike through the park, bathed in the warm glow of the sunshine. Surrounded by a solitary mountain range, resilient against the elements, the weather-beaten desert revealed a rich tapestry of vibrant cactus blooms, establishing the park’s status as a haven for unparalleled species diversity. Soon after, families eagerly embraced the next leg of their journey, commandeering canoes to navigate to the campsite!

On the tranquil waters of the Rio Grande, participants were flanked by stunning landscapes, and the river provided the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable experience. As they paddled, the families were captivated, forging a profound connection with nature amidst the awe-inspiring beauty of Big Bend. As the sun dipped below the horizon, participants set up camp under the star-studded Texas sky. Nestled in this remote oasis, the experience unfolded like a dream with storytelling and stargazing under the crystal-clear canvas of the night sky.

This was the first national park outdoor recreation event provided by our new partner, USAA! We look forward to our next adventure with military families in March as we bike 12 miles around San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

Through these events, families are able 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.