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I’m grateful for national parks in the United States and all the people who fought for them — who fight for them still.

Grateful for Crater Lake, Oregon. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

It took presidents of both parties to build the national network of preserves, yet many people inside and outside government too.

The best of America is in these parks, from Crater Lake in Oregon — deepest lake in the country — to the Everglades National Park, largest sub-tropical wilderness in the U.S.

As an immigrant, I’ve only been to a few of the great parks in this country — Bryce and Zion are two of my favorites — but every one has reminded me of the natural treasures of this land, from snow-capped mountains to sizzling desert.

Hiking in these parks, marveling at natural wonders, stopping for a picnic, or staying overnight, we’ve met great people who work, every day, to keep these parks safe and clean for visitors from all over the world, and generations to come.

This is no small feat. Politicians periodically want to drill for oil or open parks for mining; they pass laws allowing roads through wilderness to satisfy a minority of voices.

Government cutbacks have curtailed hours, staff, and money for upkeep in national parks. (It’s worse at state parks — witness California.)

Visitors at Crater Lake National Park. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

But Americans love their parks, and have defeated most of this modern tampering. Staff and volunteers do more with less, because they love this land. Thank you.

There’s a bipartisan, coast-to-coast-to-coast lesson here for the problems that beset America.

I’m grateful for this centuries-old example of a national project that Americans worked together to build.