Retirement Planning Strategies - November 2017

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Park Preservation and Benefit Education I recently returned from my annual national park trip, which is always an inspiring experience. My husband and I have a fifth wheel and a truck, A ROAD TRIP INTO THE WILDERNESS

possible to experience these incredible places, but they also feel a duty to protect the land and wildlife. They are constantly navigating between sharing the land and preserving it. I applaud their efforts and think we should follow their leadership in terms of how to best manage these precious spaces. Jackson Hole was beautiful, as always, and I really value the time I can spend educating federal employees in some pretty remote areas. The trip was a privilege, and I’m thankful for the chance to share a little of my expertise. Before I sign off this month, I want to remind our readers that the Retirement Planning Strategies’ annual Cookie Exchange & Craft Fair will be coming around again in December, so stay tuned for more information. I also want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. After getting back from the wilderness, I know I’m thankful for the incredible work of our NPS and U.S. FWS employees — and, for that matter, the work of every single federal employee. We wouldn’t be the country we are without you.

so it’s basically a federal benefits road trip. Whenever I have the chance to explore our national parks, I’m reminded of an incredible aspect of the work of our federal employees. Protecting these breathtaking locations is a noble cause if there ever was one. We started at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. It’s just a short drive from Denver, but it’s a little like stepping into another world. The landscape feels untouched, and there is a sense of isolation that really puts city life in perspective. Unfortunately, that isolation isn’t just environmental. As I hosted my lunch and learn event, I realized that many park employees feel isolated from a resource to help them understand their benefits. I do a lot of events and answer a lot of questions, but I’ve rarely had a crowd that was so eager to have issues explained. It was really special to make a connection with this spectrum of federal employees. From there, it was on to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Grand Teton National Park. We visited last year, but this year we were

able to explore the National Elk Refuge. It was a wild (sorry for the pun) experience. We saw moose, elk, and antelope. There is a pack of wolves that’s famous among the National Park Service employees in the area, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to spot any of them. Of course, my friend was there not long after and saw one. Luckily, she snapped an incredible photo, which I included along with this article. Last year, Grand Teton National Park celebrated the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. This is a huge achievement for sure, but it also highlighted some of the issues NPS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees face. With nearly 3 million people visiting the park in 2016 and another 2 million this year, there are always some that break the rules. No matter how many signs you put up, some folks still treat the park like a zoo. Of course, park employees want as many people as

–Ann Vanderslice

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