New fund to help more people access Shenandoah National Park

Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 4:36 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 14, 2023 at 6:30 PM EDT
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LURAY, Va. (WHSV) - The Shenandoah National Park Trust has started a new $150,000 fund that will allow more people to access the park. The Access to the Outdoors Fund has been established by the Trust through a grant from the Christopher Johnson McCandless Memorial Foundation.

The purpose of the fund is to remove access barriers to the park, like entry fees and transportation costs, for historically underrepresented communities.

“We want our national parks to be open to all communities so this just gives us some tools and some opportunities to provide that experience to all people that are living in America,” said Shenandoah National Park Superintendent Pat Kenney.

Organizations and community groups can work with SNP and the SNP Trust if they’re interested bringing people out to the park. Money from the fund can be used to cover typical park expenses.

“Through the generous support of the Trust we’ll be able to provide support for transportation costs and fees that might be involved in staying over night or providing equipment,” said Kenney.

The park hopes that the fund will allow more young people to have the chance to enjoy everything SNP has to offer.

“Some kids have never experienced a camping trip to a park so this would allow for support for those types of things to happen. It’s going to introduce children and even young adults to the park and to these great outdoors,” said Kenney.

The plan for the park is to work with non-profits and community groups to help connect more kids to the park.

“We work with schools quite a bit already. There are limitations to what you can do in a school day so what we’re learning is often to get a more immersive experience when coming to a park we’re working with a lot of community groups,” said Kenney. “Through those organizations often times we can build a relationship with families and provide these opportunities.”

The Trust plans to use a portion of the grant money from the CJMMF as seed money to grow the fund and keep it going for years to come while the rest of the money will be put into operation right away. The hope is to keep the fund going as a resource in the future.

Any organizations or groups interested in utilizing the fund can contact the Shenandoah National Park Trust to plan a trip to the park.