A little over seven years ago, Will and Jim Pattiz took a spur-of-the-moment road trip that changed the course of their lives.
They were living in Atlanta, Georgia at the time, and decided to head west toward the Grand Canyon. They picked up a few friends and drove until they reached Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. After getting out to stretch their legs, they were completely blown away by the grandness of the park. It was like stepping foot on another planet — a total otherworldly experience.
Although Will and Jim were both in their 20s, Petrified Forest was the first national park they had ever visited. As soon as they stepped foot in that first park, everything changed. They realized that these places are special, and that people need to know more about them.
They thought, “How many other people our age have never seen a national park before?” Which then led to the query, “How can we share these wonders with as many people as we can?”
That question lit a fire in them.
Will and Jim figured that most people knew about the national parks and had probably seen photos of them — but it’s one thing to see a still image and another to actually experience a place in person. Their aim was to inspire people to visit these places, not just view them as a staple desktop background.
As Jim put it, “When people hear about national parks, they think, ‘Oh, yeah that’s there.’
But these places need to be protected, and we need people to care about them because we want these places, and more of them, to be there for future generations.”
That’s how More Than Just Parks was born.
In 2014, Will and Jim sat down and made a plan to visit all of the U.S. National Parks and make films that would capture their awe-inspiring landscapes and the sentiment they evoke.
“These places have been preserved for all time — they’re how they were before we got here. They’re one of the few places where your grandparents, your parents, you, your children, and continued generations can see the same view and experience the same sense of awe,” Will offered.
Now, More Than Just Parks is about to release their 11th film, and they plan to continue until they finish videos for all 59 national parks.
Will and Jim hope that these videos allow you to get as close as possible to the real thing, so as to inspire you to visit for yourself and take part in the preservation of our national parks.
They certainly got our attention.
To view all of their videos and learn more about their work, visit morethanjustparks.com.