The National Parks Conservation Association has chosen several individuals with inspirational stories to show how American parks can help those who need to survive. The people have taken steps to ensure their survival while also protecting the country's heritage and beauty.

Joseph Goldstein

At 13-years-old, Goldstein was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is a fast-moving blood cancer. When he was in the hospital, a representative with the Make-A-Wish Foundation came to see him. He used his wish to save the place he loved the most, instead of choosing a trip to the north pole.

He loves the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, near Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. He has visited that park since he turned six. He enjoys fishing and canoeing in the summer, changing leaves in the fall, and camping on the frozen lakes in the winter.

He petitioned officials and President Obama to prevent mining in the Boundary Waters watershed. He argued the pollution from copper mining will ruin the park. After surviving the treatments, he began writing blogs about his favorite place and kept up pressure to cancel the mineral leases. With the Make-a-Wish Foundation's help, the Obama administration decided to let the mineral leases lapse.

Donnie Priest

In 1982, for five days, Yosemite National Park rangers and rescue team members had looked for a small plane that had crashed near the mountains.

It happened during one of California's worst snowstorms on record. For the five days, the teams searched during blizzards, on snowshoes, on a snowcat vehicle and in a helicopter. When the weather finally cleared, the teams thought that no one could have survived the cold and blizzard conditions.

Ranger John Dill continued to look over maps and analyzing flight data.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

On Jan. 8, 1982, he reduced the search area to a place near the White Mountain. Rescuers found a small section of the plane showing in the snow. Rescue workers heard the cry of 10-year-old Donnie Priest. His mother and father died on impact. He returned to the crash site 25 years later and now works at a business that makes prosthetics for amputees.

Jose Rodriguez

After leaving the military, Rodriguez suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He tried to deal with that problem by drinking alcohol. He decided to enter a rehabilitation facility and was sponsored by the Mission Continues to be a fellow with the NPCA. He has rebuilt camping platforms in the Everglades National Park in Florida. He has met construction engineers with the parks and has embarked on a new career. He is in school studying construction management.