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Every Kid in a Park Launches in Seattle

Posted by Loren D at Sep 10, 2015 06:25 PM |

WTA helped launch the Every Kid in a Park program, a new national initiative to connect kids and their families with the trails, wildlife, and history on federal lands for free.

Washington Trails Association joined national agencies, nonprofit partners and about 50 elementary students in Rainier Beach at the Seattle launch of the Every Kid in a Park program today. The event celebrated the new national initiative to connect fourth graders and their families with the trails, wildlife, resources, and history on federal lands for free this year.

Fourth graders and families were joined by representatives from the Natural Leader's Network, Islandwood, Nature Bridge, the National Park Service, the National Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife before receiving their passes.

President Obama and the Department of the Interior launched the program Sept. 1 to help connect millions of kids to their public lands. In his remarks at the event, National Geographic Emerging Explorer and National Leaders Network's Juan Martinez quoted the president, telling the kids:

“No matter who you are, no matter where you live, our parks, our monuments, our lands, our waters — these places are your birthright as Americans.”

Martinez went on to tell the elementary students that they were official ambassadors for Every Kid in a Park program. "You guys are the leaders we are waiting for," he said.

A great opportunity to get youth and families onto public lands

After greeting Smoky Bear, checking out local pond life through Islandwood's microscopes, learning how to set up a camp tent with WTA and trying on a National Park uniform, fourth graders handed in their vouchers to become the proud bearers of their official passes. The passes will grant the kids and their families access to federal lands, including National Forests, National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges around the country all year long.

"This initiative is a great opportunity to get youth and their families onto public lands, and Washington Trails Association looks forward to helping with that," said WTA's Youth Program Director Krista Dooley.

WTA provides education and programs to empower families of all ages to connect with Washington's trails as hikers and trail volunteers, as well as a program that trains and outfits youth educators with the knowledge and gear to provide the youth in their communities with outdoor experiences.

How it works

About federal lands

Washington has an abundance of trail and hiking opportunities that cross all kinds of public lands, from city parks to county parks, and from state lands to federal lands. Different lands have different goals, and knowing what land you are on helps you know a lot more about the place, including what the basic rules and permits for hiking it are.

The Every Kid in a Park pass will come in handy on Washington's federal lands, the majority of which are National Forest and National Park lands. Washington also has public lands managed by the Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management.

Every Kid in a Park Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier National Park is just one of many incredible spots where Every Kid in a Park pass holders can get their families in for free this year. Photo/US Dept. of the Interior