Nature Lover Leaves $1 Million to National Parks

Bette Wallace grew up in Washington state, and even after she moved to California, the beauty of Washington’s national parks remained an intrinsic part of her. With her passing, she helped to secure the future of those parks with a $1 million donation directed to Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, and North Cascades National Park.

“On behalf of (Wallace’s) trust it was our family’s honor to make this donation on her behalf to the Washington’s National Park Fund knowing it will be used for many projects including a combination of saving lives and supporting volunteer infrastructure in the parks,” said Cheri Ryan, Wallace’s niece and the trustee of her estate.

That is exactly what the funds will be used for. In Mount Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park, it will be added to a fund supporting a new dispatch system allowing operators to better monitor rangers out in the wilderness. Knowing where people are is intrinsic to keeping the park rangers safe. North Cascades is going to put their share towards improving their volunteer infrastructure, including better training and safety measures.

Sarah Creachbaum, superintendent of Olympic National Park, calls this a “pivotal time for Washington’s three largest national parks.” The federal Department of the Interior (which manages the parks system) has faced large budget cuts in recent years, exacerbating an existing maintenance backlog estimated at $11 billion. A recent plan to dramatically increase visitor fees to address this backlog was scrapped in the face of public furor. A million dollar donation may seem like a drop in the bucket, but it’s one of the largest donations the Washington national parks have seen in decades.

Bette Wallace’s legacy will be one of security for our greatest national treasure: the vast, sprawling parks system enshrined into law nearly 150 years ago.

Organizations Profiles

Hopelink Reaches Those in Need

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It may be difficult to know where to turn when you are feeling down and out.  It may seem like nobody cares or that nobody is willing to help.  However, there is a nonprofit organization that is looking out for people in need.  Hopelink does, and it works with a diverse population from children to seniors.

Every day there are thousands who are looking for jobs, food, housing or training.  Last year about 1,500 people used the job training resources.  Students who dropped out of high school went there to earn their GED. Families in crisis went there to find safety.

Since 1971, Hopelink has been a resource connecting people with the services they need to survive and thrive.  It has put food on the table, assisted in finding a parent a job or helped to heat homes over the winter.  Whatever the emergency, Hopelink has stepped in to solve the problem.

From the shores of Lake Washington to the crest of the Cascades, they have helped many people find the hope they were searching for.

For the entire profile on Hopelink, click here.