Why Park Stores Matter Most

Why Park Stores Matter Most

When visiting a national park or the like, you’re often drawn to make a pit stop at the visitor center to gather informative information pertaining to your visit. In parallel, you’re likely lured to peruse the adjoining park store to memorialize your new memories or buy gifts to share your experience with friends and family. That special gift holds more significance for the park than you might realize, thanks to how your purchase is linked to the park's mission.

In most cases, National Parks and the agencies that manage our public lands collaborate with non-profit organizations that are commonly referred to as Cooperating Associations. These versatile organizations have varying mandates ranging from philanthropic fundraising to driving education through interpretive projects and programming to enhance the visitor experience – inclusive of managing the park store.

Amazingly, all profits generated from park stores managed by Cooperating Associations go back to the park where purchased, funding research, infrastructure projects, educational iniatives, and beyond to support the objectives of the managing agency (e.g., National Park Service, National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management) at the localized level. This means your purchases at these stores play a pivotal role in sustaining and preserving our cherished parks, forests, and public lands for the enjoyment of future generations. We like to view it as a bond between you and the park, making your gift not just meaningful for yourself, but also a priceless contribution to the place you hold dear.

These stores become gateways to understanding, connections to conservation, and pivotal pillars uplifting the very spirit of our treasured natural spaces and historic places. Retail arrangements vary across different parks. For instance, Yellowstone Forever operates the gift shop within the Old Faithful Visitor Center and also has a large outpost just outside the North Entrance adjacent to the Roosevelt Arch in Yellowstone National Park. On the other hand, Canyonlands Natural History Association wears multiple hats, managing stores not only in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks but also providing support to retail operations in Natural Bridges National Monument and other public lands in Southeastern Utah. Zooming out, the Western National Parks Association has a broader scope, providing support to over 70 parks spread across the western United States, many of which are smaller National Park Service units.

These organizations form the core of efforts aimed at preserving and enhancing our beloved public lands. Wild Tribute is honored to call many of these organizations trusted and genuine partners. Throughout each year, we are fortunate to work closely with these organizations, witnessing firsthand the dedication and passion that produce an unparalleled output of good in the public land community. For this reason, Cooperating Associations are commonly beneficiaries of our "4 the Parks" donations.

You may or may not have noticed, but most of our apparel found at park-specific destinations is tailored exclusively for those locations, so they are only available at these spots. This decision is intentional, allowing the stores to fully benefit from the profits generated by these sales. In these stores, each Wild Tribute purchase not only adds to the store-generated profits but also includes an extra donation (you guessed it – 4% of Wild Tribute's proceeds are donated back to supporting our parks, forests and oceans).

So, the next time you're in a gift shop contemplating a purchase, don't hesitate. The park store is part of the park experience. You’re not only learning a thing or two through the store’s merchandise assortment, but you’re most certainly capturing memories made from your visit, while simultaneously giving back to the place that provided the arena for such. Plus, you never know what exclusive Wild Tribute design you might discover!

Thank you for supporting our public lands; together, we can all make a difference – both individually and collectively.


You can read more about specific Cooperating Associations and their related domains and missions on Our Partners page. We encourage you to do a “double click” on these organizations, review their contributions, and consider becoming a member or benefactor.

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Wild Tribute was founded to honor our parks, forests, and oceans. We donate 4% of our proceeds to support America's historic and wild places. Our designs pay tribute to where legacy roams.