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Olympic National Park Photo: NPS.org

The Inertia

Bette Wallace was quite a woman. She grew up in Alderwood Manor, Washington north of Seattle and loved the outdoors. She loved to ski, hike, and apparently, she loved the state’s national parks. It was announced this week that Washington’s three national parks will receive major upgrades thanks to a million dollar donation to Washington’s National Park fund.

Wallace, who died in 2016 at 92, ended up settling down in northern California and made her money in real estate. She apparently lived to watch the 49ers on Sundays and traveled extensively. But she made sure to help protect her beloved parks before she passed away.

Washington’s National Park fund is the philanthropic arm of Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic national parks and helps raise money for those entities. The Elizabeth Ruth Wallace Living Trust has given to several charities since Mrs. Wallace’s passing but the national parks contribution couldn’t have been timed better.

“This funding comes at a pivotal time for Washington’s three largest national parks,” said Olympic National Park superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “Our country’s national parks have experienced many financial challenges in recent years and there is a significant maintenance backlog. This wonderful donation via WNPF enables us to invest in much-needed safety technology that can quite literally save lives in Washington for years to come.”


Both Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks will get a computer system that will help monitor and connect rangers, which officials say will improve response time in case of emergencies. North Cascades park will use the money on volunteer infrastructure.


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