Partnership Creates Healing Connections To Nature and Peers For TAPS Families

Author: Rachel Hunsell

TAPS Outdoors hosted our first TAPS Togethers National Park Fishing Day with Atlanta area TAPS families on Saturday, June 25 at Hyde Farm Park in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. This is the first of ten such events in partnership with the National Park Trust that will take place over the next year.

Families spent the morning at the park with one-on-one volunteer guides from the Upper Chattahoochee Trout Unlimited Chapter learning the how-tos of fly-fishing - from the finesse in casting, to the joy of reeling in a fish, and the peace this time on the water can bring.

One surviving spouse noted how important peaceful moments like this can be: “I’ve been looking for peace like this since my husband died and I never thought I’d find it at a local National Park just down the road from us, fishing with my son.”

TAPS Family in Georgia Fly Fishing event

TAPS Families and National Park Ranger

Beyond the fishing, TAPS families even had a special visit from 46 - year National Parks Service Ranger, Jerry Hightower. Survivors were excited to engage with him and asked questions about the wildlife, the best times to visit the Park and Chattahoochee River, and ways they can get more involved with the National Park Service.

This special day rounded out as many TAPS events do - with a meal and conversation. Lunch was donated by Chick-Fil-A in Marietta, and survivors sat together in the living room of the Hyde Farm House sharing stories of their loved ones.

A surviving mom shared, “This was my son’s favorite pastime and he always talked about taking us fly-fishing with him. I had so much fun here today with my daughter and granddaughter, his sister and niece. It really felt like he was here with us, right here close to home.”

TAPS Families in Georgia Fly Fishing event

TAPS Families in Georgia Fly Fishing event

TAPS Togethers National Park Fishing Days are for survivors of all ages and accessibility levels.  Each survivor goes home with their own Orvis fly-fishing rod and reel, all thanks to our incredible partner, the National Park Trust. Knowing that families are going home with tools, both to fly-fish and to stay connected with their fellow survivors near home, is why we developed this unique program. 

The heart of TAPS, our TAPS Togethers and outdoor programming, is to ensure that every survivor knows that they are not alone. Peer to peer connection, a healing and supportive community, and peaceful connections to nature can be found closer to home than you might think. 

One surviving spouse summed it up best: “This was my first TAPS event and it feels like I’ve found my people. I look forward to more events with people who live nearby.”

Upcoming Fishing Days Events

Locations and dates of upcoming TAPS Togethers: National Park Fishing Days will be posted on our TAPS Togethers events calendar as details are finalized.  Please check back for a date and time near you! 

See also photos from our first TAPS Togethers National Park Fishing Day held on June 25, 2022.

Other Local Connections

There are so many ways to connect with your local TAPS Family. Learn more at:

For questions about National Park Fishing Days, please email