Today is America’s Summit on National Parks in Washington, DC. The Mission Outdoors Representative, Jackie Ostfeld, is attending on behalf of our team and just tweeted Director of our National Parks, Jon Jarvis as saying that, “We need to prepare parks for one million returning veterans and their families where they can reestablish themselves, find peace and quiet.”
Glad to see that the senior leadership, at least of our Department of Interior, is starting to get it! We are honored at the Sierra Club to be working with the National Parks, and the rest of the Department of Interior to continue to expand, promote, and innovate opportunities for military service members, veterans, and their families to get outside and truly enjoy the land they fought to defend. Look in this space in a few weeks for a report on our first joint ‘Post to Parks’ initiative in Colorado where we’ll provide an opportunity for 20 Airmen and Soldiers from the Colorado Springs area to experience Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
We have opened up our listening sessions to hopefully include one or two members of the National Park Service each and are excited about how we are truly ‘joining forces’ to make it all happen.
The bottom line is that an investment in our veterans to get outside, to reconnect with their own selves, as well as America, is a fundamental first investment in ensuring our veterans and their families can reintegrate from the combat community to the non-combat community that surrounds us every day.
Director Jarvis, on behalf of the Sierra Club Nation, our partners, and all of our Nation’s veterans, military service members, and families, we salute you. We’d stand by you too, but there’s no time to stand around…we’re already working!
~Stacy Bare, OIF Veteran
Military Families and Veteran Representative to the Sierra Club
"Helping America's Military and Veteran Community experience the freedom of the land they defend"