Richard Haiman National Parks Foundation
The Richard Haiman National Parks Foundation was born out of necessity. In October of 1995, Hurricane Opal came up through the Gulf of Mexico and sent high winds and tornados well into Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The storm wreaked havoc inside the park. Richard discovered when visiting the Smokies just after the storm that his favorite trail, Alum Cave /LeConte, was closed and it was questionable as to how long it would be until it would be re-opened.
At the time, Richard was receiving chemotherapy treatments and knew that he did not have time to wait. He talked to his friend and local Gatlinburg businessman, Tom Brosch to figure out what could be done. Tom suggested that they meet with the park superintendent, Karen Wade. Tom and Karen organized a meeting with a relatively new organization called The Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Richard and Tom met with the Friend’s executive director, Charles Maynard and formulated a plan to get the Alum Cave trail re-opened. Richard’s contribution at the time was the single largest private donation to the National Parks.
Richard hiked his favorite trail at the re-opening as he expected. What he did not expect was the massive outpouring of unsolicited thanks from people who lived in the region and throughout the country. Knowing he was not well and having the desire to create something that could continue to protect and enhance the parks he loved after he was gone, the Richard Haiman National Parks Foundation was born.
We continue to fund projects in the Smokies as well as Acadia National Park, Everglades, Yellowstone and Yosemite. We fund materials for projects that are completed with volunteer labor and 100% of our funding stays inside the National Park that the project is in. We appreciate your interest in our Foundation and appreciate any contribution you can make.