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Starting Soon, 4th Graders (and Their Families) Can Get Free Admission to Every U.S. National Park for a Full Year

President Obama’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative makes it easier than ever to get up, get out, and enjoy nature.

image via (cc) flickr user joxur223

The National Parks Service is, it seems, a firm believer in that old saying: “’tis better to give, than to receive.” Starting in September, the agency will provide free admission to any one of its parks, waterways, preserves and historical sites to fourth graders (and their families) for the duration of the 2015/2016 school year. Yellowstone? You got it. Mt. Rushmore? Absolutely. Death Valley? Pack some water, and enjoy your stay.


Dubbed “Every Kid in a Park,” the program was announced earlier this year by President Obama. The yearlong offer, which would ordinarily cost $80, leads into the August, 2016 celebration of the National Park Service’s centennial anniversary.

A Whitehouse blog post explains that the initiative:

...calls on each of our agencies to help get all children to visit and enjoy the outdoors and inspire a new generation of Americans to experience their country’s unrivaled public lands and waters.

To that end, the program goes beyond the simple offer of free admission, and will see expanded federal transportation grants to help physically bring students into the parks, focusing first on schools in need. Similarly, the NPS is rolling out both new, and revamped educational materials for teachers to utilize across a wide variety of subjects, such as math, science, and social studies. As the Department of Interior (which oversees the National Parks Service) points out:

The initiative is an administration-wide effort among the National Park Service, Forest Service, Department of Education, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

To learn more about the program, families are encouraged to sign up for the National Park Foundation’s “Every Kid in a Park Pledge,” which will also give them access to Parks For Play: 35 National Park Adventures for Kids of All Ages, a “special National Park Owner’s Guide” put out by the foundation.

[via matadornetwork]

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