Santa Rosa, CA – AmeriCan Adventures, an adventure travel company operating tours for Grand American Adventures and several other travel brands, has launched “Pennies for Parks,” a program to support Tourism Cares’ Centennial Tour Operator Program.
2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park service. In recognition and celebration of this event, Tourism Cares has partnered with tour operators throughout the country to provide funds and labor that the national parks really need.
According to a 2011 National Parks Conservation Association report, “America’s national parks face an erosion of funding” and recent budgets are 13% less than they were 10 years ago. “Not only will this mean fewer rangers to greet us and respond to emergencies, but it also means that parks won’t be adequately maintained…”
As a tour company that believes in enriching traveler’s lives by providing insight into the diverse culture and natural beauty of North America, it is a natural fit for AmeriCan Adventures to partner with Tourism Cares. Deputy Operations Manager, Kelly Kissling, explains, “It’s important for us to give back to the national parks that provide so much for our company and our clients. We want to make sure that we have the opportunity to visit these phenomenal places for years to come.”
Each participating tour operator pledges to give a minimum of $2 per passenger on 2016 tours entering a National Park. For 2016, this donation has been made by AmeriCan Adventures for all Grand American Adventure tours. “Pennies for Parks” is a way to extend that fundraising to the clients. Each tour group will receive an envelope where members can choose to make their own donations to the program. As the majority of travelers on these tour are international, very often the coins and other small currency they have collected over the course of the tour will go to unspent, since they can not be converted back to their home currencies. With “Pennies for Parks,” these funds are not wasted, but collected and given back to support the very national parks that clients have just visited.
In addition to the funds raised through the Centennial Tour Operator Program, Tourism Cares volunteers will donate 10,000 hours at 5 NPS sites through 2016, helping preserve and protect these destinations for future generations.
Kissling and Mike May, Operations Manager of AmeriCan Adventures, donated their own hours of service at the first centennial event at the Grand Canyon last November. May shared his thoughts on the event: “Though I’ve been involved in many over the years, the Tourism Cares project at the Grand Canyon in 2015 was the one closest to my heart. Visiting this country’s great national parks is the cornerstone of the Grand American Adventures program and anything we can do to protect and preserve them is a privilege and a pleasure– and, one might say, a duty.”
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