Free national park entrance for 4th graders and families
Almost lost amid news of a major public lands bill moving through Congress toward final passage is a proposal to renew Every Kid Outdoors, an Obama-era program that gives fourth graders and their families free access to national parks and other public lands.
Under the Natural Resources Management Act, passed by the Senate on Feb. 12, Every Kid Outdoors—formerly known as “Every Kid in a Park”—would be extended for the next seven years, signifying a remarkable change in fortune for a program that, just months ago, was threatened with cancellation by then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
“This vote confirmed that ensuring all kids have access to the outdoors remains a broadly popular and bipartisan concern” - Paul Sanford, national director of recreation policy for The Wilderness Society
In 2018, Every Kid in a Park was temporarily rescued after Americans of all stripes—including the Outdoors Alliance for Kids and The Wilderness Society—pressured the Trump administration to back off. But if the House acts in the coming weeks and passes the extension, the program will enjoy newfound security and stability.
“This vote confirmed that ensuring all kids have access to the outdoors remains a broadly popular and bipartisan concern,” said Paul Sanford, national director of recreation policy for The Wilderness Society. “We look forward to working with House members to see the Every Kid Outdoors Act signed into law.”
The push to extend Every Kid Outdoors comes at a moment of serious need. Modern kids tend to spend less time outside and more time glued to a television or other screens, and too many at-risk kids and marginalized communities of color are likely to miss out on the wonders of our public lands. The bill under consideration would sustain a program that has offered many kids—notably those attending schools where much of the student body is from low-income households--their best chance to visit a national park.