Every Kid Outdoors program provides fourth-grade students with free entrance to public lands

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Rock formations, like those seen at Zion National Park in Utah, are just a few of the sites every family can enjoy for less with the Every Kid Outdoors Program offering free entrance to public lands for fourth-grade students. Kim Harris photo

WASHINGTON – Fourth-grade students can get a free annual pass to visit more than 2,000 federal recreation areas with their families, classmates and friends. The Every Kid Outdoors Program is an interagency collaboration between the Department of the Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Forest Service that provides fourth-graders with free access to explore, learn and recreate in spectacular settings, including national parks, wildlife refuges, marine sanctuaries and forests.

“Introducing fourth-grade students to America’s public lands provides them with limitless opportunities to have fun, be active, improve fitness and learn critical skills,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said. “Visits on class trips or family vacations to the rich variety of astonishing landscapes and historic treasures located on public lands will result in unforgettable experiences and, hopefully, forge lifelong connections to the outdoors.”

The bipartisan John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump March 12, authorized funding for Every Kid Outdoors for the next seven years.

To obtain the free pass, fourth-grade students visit the Every Kid Outdoors website, participate in a short educational activity and download a voucher. The voucher is valid for multiple uses between Sept. 1, 2019, and Aug. 31, 2020, to correspond to the traditional school year. The voucher may be exchanged for a keepsake pass at participating federal lands.

The voucher or pass grants free entry for fourth-graders, all children under 16 in the group and up to three accompanying adults or an entire car for drive-in parks to most federally managed lands and waters. The pass does not cover expanded amenity fees such as camping or boat rides.

Fourth grade educators are encouraged to take advantage of the wide range of educational programs and tools associated with the Every Kid Outdoors program. Educational activities, field trip options, information and tools in English and Spanish, and the ability to print vouchers for passes for students are all available on the website.

The Every Kid Outdoors program replaces the Every Kid in a Park Program that was established in 2015.

The program focuses on children 10 years of age – the age of most fourth-graders – based on research that indicates children ages 9–11 are at a unique developmental stage in their learning where they begin to understand how the world around them works in more concrete ways and they are more receptive to engaging with nature and the environment. By focusing on this age group year after year, the program aims to ensure every child in the United States has the opportunity to visit their federal lands and waters by the time they are 11 years old, thereby establishing a lifelong connection to enjoy and protect American outdoor heritage.

There are seven federal agencies participating in the Every Kid Outdoors program. Search for participating lands and waters by agency, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Submitted by the U.S. Department of the Interior.