Twelve years after Great Basin National Park was founded, Great Basin National Park Foundation was established by Bonnie Bryan, Nevada's First Lady and wife of Governor Richard Bryan. Great Basin National Park Foundation’s mission was then, as it continues to be today, to support the Park as an institution and treasure of the region so that future generations will be able to enjoy its wonders.
Since 1998, the Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help Great Basin National Park. Projects established have been a new Visitor Center in Baker, Nevada, the maintainance of and increased access to park trails, preservation of the cultural heritage of the Great Basin through an oral history project, and the expansion of the Park's astronomy programs which eventually led to the most ambitious venture to date—the planning, building, and oversight of the Great Basin Observatory.
The first research grade astronomical observatory ever built in a U.S National Park, the Great Basin Observatory (GBO), is a robotic, remote-internet accessed telescope that allows researchers and students worldwide to obtain the most outstanding night sky conditions in the lower 48 states.
The Foundation, through its donors, provides needed funds to enhance the mission of Great Basin National Park.