Shenandoah National Park Trust is Brilliant

Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains

We choose a Pure Brilliance recipient each year whose innovative work positively impacts our world and often our local community. We think the work of our latest awardee, the Shenandoah National Park Trust, is both brilliant and timely as 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

Mudhouse’s hometown of Charlottesville, VA, is incredibly fortunate to be at the doorstep of Shenandoah National Park. Our community is also fortunate that the headquarters of the Shenandoah National Park Trust, the park’s official philanthropic partner, is located here. The Trust was established in 2007 to give people like you and me the opportunity to make a difference in the future of this amazing place. We sat down with Trust president Susan Sherman to learn how the organization does that.

The Trust’s mission is to help protect Shenandoah’s wildlife and wild lands, preserve its living history, and educate and inspire the next generation of conservationists and national park leaders. They fund projects like native habitat restoration, trail maintenance, rehabilitation of historic buildings, and summer camps for underserved youth.

But wait…aren’t national parks funded by the federal government? The answer is “yes,” but federal funding is not keeping pace with the needs of national parks. For this reason, parks across the country have entered into public-private partnerships with groups like the Trust in order to help infuse additional dollars to protect these places we treasure.

By raising funds from people like you and me, the Trust addresses both immediate and long-term needs (including a $90 million backlog of maintenance projects). These public-private partnerships with the National Park Service are critical to the future health of our parks, Susan said.

Right now, in honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Trust is seeking “Centennial Partners” to make gifts of $100 to support the breadth of their work. Each $100 gift will be matched by a local Charlottesvillian, Janet Eden, doubling the impact of your donation. More information is here:

Other ways to support the national park in your backyard:

  • Set up a monthly gift to the Trust with automatic withdrawals from your bank account. No fuss giving!
  • Purchase a Shenandoah National Park license plate. $15 from each plate supports the Trust’s work in your park.
  • Visit your park! Whether you’re a backcountry hiker or Skyline Drive cruiser, Shenandoah has plenty to offer you. (September 24 and November 11 are fee-free days!)

To find out more about the Trust, visit their website and read a recent article in the Daily Progress.

Young boy excitedly whooping at Shenandoah National Park

All photos © Ken Rowland