If you’ve ever wanted to hike the Great Smoky Mountains or whitewater raft in Yellowstone, here’s your chance to bask in the great outdoors cash-free. This year, fourth graders nationwide and their families will have free access to all federally managed lands and waters — including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries.
“Every Kid in A Park” is a new White House youth initiative aimed at connecting kids to our country’s national parks.
Here’s how it works. Students can sign up online now for their Every Kid in a Park pass and complete an educational activity in order to access and print out the pass. The voucher is valid for the 2015-2016 school year and grants free entry for fourth graders and three accompanying adults (or an entire car for drive-in parks) at more than 2,000 federally managed sites.
“Every Kid in a Park is a chance for fourth graders from every background to be outside and get to know the lands and waters that belong to them, whether it’s a national forest, a wildlife refuge, a marine sanctuary or a historic site in the center of a city,” said Christy Goldfuss, managing director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).
“By expanding their horizons and learning all the ways the outdoors can enrich their lives, this innovative program hopes to create greater awareness of the many benefits of our nation’s public lands and waters,” Goldfuss added.
The program will continue each year with the then-current group of fourth graders. The goal is to give every school-age child in America the opportunity to visit national parks across the country for free.
Popular national parks include the Everglades in Florida, Yellowstone in Wyoming and Sequoia in California. There are thousands of sites nationwide, including two in Wisconsin: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore at the northern tip of the state; and Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, in the western part of the state. For a list of national parks by state, visit www.nationalparks.org.
For more information about the Every Kid in a Park program, visit www.everykidinapark.gov.