Eric and Kathy Johnson’s National Park Journey

How did a flat tire lead the Johnson family to NPCA? It’s a story Eric Johnson is glad to share, although he and his wife, Kathy, weren’t happy about it initially.

“Back in 2004, we were enjoying our first full day in Big Bend National Park when our car suffered a flat tire. Fortunately, Ranger D.W. Yim happened by, used his own puncture kit to plug the leak and inflated the tire. He saved us a whole day of trying to get someone to repair the tire and we only had three days in the park, so we were very appreciative. As soon as we got home, I made a donation to NPCA in Ranger Yim’s honor.”

Since that first donation, Eric and Kathy have continued their support of NPCA along with their journey to visit every national park during their retirement. While increasing their generosity to the Trustees for the Parks level and becoming honored members of the Mather Legacy Society by including NPCA in their estate plans, the Johnsons have traveled the country exploring iconic parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Grand Canyon as well as smaller, lesser-known ones, which they have found to be just as special.

Kathy has particularly fond memories of visiting five national parks via the New York City subway system last spring. “I tagged along on a tour of the African American Burial Ground National Monument with a group of school children and saw Castle Clinton National Monument where immigrants were processed before Ellis Island was opened. I also made a personal connection with history by finding my grandmother’s name at Ellis Island National Monument.”

Whether by plane, train, automobile, or even subway, the Johnsons enjoy every excursion to a national park. “Getting there can be half the fun,” they both agree “and every national park is a national treasure in its own way.” Everyone at NPCA is grateful for the exceptional commitment Eric and Kathy have made to preserving America’s national parks. We wish them all the best – and no more flat tires – on the rest of their national park journeys.

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