Fourth-Graders and Families Can Get Free National Park Passes

Pacific Northwest Paradise (Photo by Ed-Suominen)
Pacific Northwest Paradise (Photo by Ed-Suominen)

With the start of the new school year, all fourth-graders and their families can claim their free Every Kid in a Park pass, which allows free entry into all federal parks, forests and recreation areas for a full year.

Fourth-graders can print out a paper voucher for free entry into all federal lands by visiting the Every Kid in a Park website at www.everykidinapark.gov. Students and their families can also redeem their paper voucher for a plastic pass at any Forest Service office. The voucher and passes are valid for the entire school year, Sept. 1, 2016-Aug. 31, 2017.

The Forest Service is partnering with schools and educators across Oregon and Washington to plan Every Kid in a Park events in local communities and distribute passes at back-to-school events. For more information on upcoming Every Kid in a Park events, contact your local forest.

Teachers or adults who engage fourth-graders through a youth-serving organization can print paper passes and find activities and lesson plans at www.everykidinapark.gov/get-your-pass/educator.

Today, more than 80 percent of American families live in urban areas, and many lack easy access to safe outdoor spaces. At the same time, kids are spending more hours than ever in front of screens instead of outside. The Every Kid in a Park initiative encourages valuable opportunities to explore, learn and play in the spectacular places that belong to us all and aims to inspire future generations to serve as stewards of these places.

4th grader Parks passResearch shows that 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. By targeting fourth-graders, the program works to ensure every child in the United States has the opportunity to visit and enjoy public lands by the time he or she is 11 years old. For more information, visit www.everykidinapark.gov.

The Pacific Northwest Region consists of 16 national forests, 59 district offices, a national scenic area and a national grassland comprising 24.7 million acres in Oregon and Washington and employing approximately 3,550 people. To learn more about the U.S. Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest, and to find passes and permits, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/r6.