National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the Interior
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National Park Guest Donation Program

In Park Friendraising

Following a successful three year trial, the Secretary of the Interior permanently approved the National Park Guest Donation Program. The program may be implemented by a Park and their National Park concessioner as set forth below. The program is not restricted to lodging and the templates can be modified to fit other concession operated business activities. Any program implemented using this authority must adhere to the following procedures and is subject to termination by the Director, National Park Service, for non-compliance.

Scope of In Park Program

This program authorizes willing National Park concessioners to give guests the opportunity to make a $1 per overnight or more, per room, donation to the National Park Foundation to support the national park they are visiting. This is not a room rate addition, and is in no way related to contract room rate approval or gross revenue franchise fees. It is a voluntary public service action by the donor and the concessioner.

One hundred percent of the funds donated must be initially deposited to a restricted account at the National Park Foundation for the benefit of the national park where the funds are collected. Upon the Superintendent's request, funds received under this program will be contributed to a local non-profit park support group to enhance its efforts on behalf of the park. The local non-profit support group must have a current signed agreement with the park in order to receive any funds from this program. Use of funds from this account will be approved, after consultation with the Park Superintendent, by the Grants and Programs Committee of the National Park Foundation Board or the board of the local park support group. The Superintendent will have final say on use of the funds.

In FY 2005 concessioners from 12 parks elected to participate in the program. Funds donated through the program by generous park visitors helped support projects and programs ranging from internships, special resource protection and restoration efforts, to environmental education efforts.

Standard Operating Procedures for In Park Guest Donation Program

Snapshots of In Park Guest Donation Program (March 2006)

The following parks have guest donations programs. During a one year period in 2004-2005 total annual contributions to individual parks through this program ranged from $112,410 to $7,804.

Bryce Canyon
Crater Lake
Death Valley
Grand Canyon
Grand Teton
Lake Mead
Mesa Verde
Mount Rainier

Snapshot of How Some of These Funds Have Been Used

Bryce Canyon
Funds were used to support seasonal staff and a Student Conservation Association intern to assist with and provide visitor safety, resource education, emergency medical response, search and rescue and park information.

Crater Lake
Crater Lake Lodge has been participating in the program for the past three seasons. The funds have been transferred to the Crater Lake National Park Trust, a local fund of the National Park Foundation, to help them with their efforts to support the park. They intend to continue with that arrangement for the foreseeable future.

The South Florida National Parks Trust, a local fund of the National Park Foundation, was established in 2002 to support Biscayne, Dry Tortugas, and Everglades National Parks. The lodge check-off program has been used in Everglades, the only park of the three, with lodging facilities. The program ended in 2005 when the lodge was destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma. To date, all monies collected under this program are held by the South Florida National Parks Trust for the benefit of Everglades National Park. The park has not yet requested use of these funds from the Trust.

Lake Mead
Funds from the Lake Mead lodge check-off program go to and are managed by the Outside Las Vegas Foundation (OLVF). Funds have been used to support desert clean-ups and operational funds for the Forever Earth houseboat. The houseboat is used for environmental education and research purposes.

Mount Rainier
Guest participation in the program has remained in the mid to high 90th percentile. The program has supported the following projects:

  • Meadow protection and restoration
  • Climbing Information Center interpreter
  • Sub-alpine wildflower brochure
  • Development of the Mount Rainier Institute
  • Educational and outreach programs
  • Educational program reduce wildlife/human interactions

Shenandoah National Park's friends group is relatively new. The lodge check-off program has been in existence for less than two years. All monies collected under this program are held by the Shenandoah National Park Trust, a local fund of the National Park Foundation for the benefit of the park.

The funds donated through this program have helped the park meet interpretive and educational program goals funding:

  • Two Seasonal Interpreters in 2004;
  • One Seasonal Interpreter in 2005;
  • One Seasonal Interpreter in 2006;
  • 2006 Visitor Survey (Visitor Services Project) and
  • Upgrades to Visitor Center Audio Visual Equipment

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