Families Visit FREE at America's National Parks!
The US Government guards a priceless national treasure, and last month it opened it's vault...to America's fourth-graders. This past September of 2015, the White House launched the "Every Kid in a Park" program, giving fourth-grade school children (and their home school equivalents) free access to the US National Park System for one year. Since the administration didn't like the idea of 9-year-olds wandering the wilderness alone, the pass also provides park access for up to a car-full of family members, setting up all involved for safe, educational, and unforgettable adventures.
A part of the NPS's Open OutDoors for Kids initiative, "Every Kid in a Park" is an effort to give every American child direct access to the grandest, most well-preserved natural wonders in the country. The program's advocates assert the importance of such access to the future of these young people. Children are spending half as much time outside as they did in the mid-'90s. Research indicates that spending time outdoors improves children's health and academic performance, especially in the sciences and history. Given recent cutbacks for school field trips, programs like this are all the more essential.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have access to over 40 NPS sites, historic trails, and other landmarks. To celebrate the roll-out of "Every Kid in a Park", we've created a series of Design-Your-Own Soft Stars inspired by Pacific Northwest National Parks!
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon:
Mt. Rainier National Park Moccasins, Washington:
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Oregon:
Redwoods National Forest, California:
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon:
San Juan Islands National Monument, Washington
See something you like, or have an idea for another National Park-inspired Soft Star? You can create your own pair on our DYO page! Or, visit the National Park Foundation to learn more about its fantastic new program!