Grand Teton, Wyo. – Today, First Lady of the United States Melania Trump and U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt joined second and fourth graders in Grand Teton National Park for a field trip highlighting the importance of the Every Kid Outdoors Program.
“This trip highlighted some of the beautiful national parks, lands, and waters that make up our country,” said First Lady Melania Trump. “Spending time outdoors with children and learning more about our incredible and complex surroundings was a very meaningful experience for me. I want to thank the people of Wyoming for making me feel so welcomed. I also want to thank the many dedicated organizations including Jackson District Boy Scouts and the National Park Service for all they do in protecting and taking care of our national parks."
“Grand Teton National Park and the Department of the Interior were honored to have the First Lady visit today. America’s National Parks and public lands provide great opportunities for children to explore, investigate and learn,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “The First Lady's advocacy for children to 'Be Best' is right on the mark! The Every Kid Outdoors program, which was signed into law by President Trump, is also a great way for fourth grade students to expand their horizons and be their best selves by experiencing the wonder of public lands. I am hopeful that fourth grade students, their parents and their educators take full advantage of the Every Kid Outdoors Program.”
Every Kid Outdoors 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.
Fourth grade students can get a free annual pass to visit more than 2,000 federal recreation areas with their families, classmates, and friends. 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 use 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 bipartisan John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, which was signed into law by President Trump on March 12, 2019, authorized funding for Every Kid Outdoors for the next seven years, which replaced the Every Kid in a Park program.
From Left to Right: Acting Superintendent for Grand Teton National Park Gopaul Noojibail, the First Lady of the United States Melania Trump, and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.
Every Kid Outdoors
The Every Kid Outdoors Program replaces the Every Kid in a Park Program. 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 he or she is 11 years old, thereby establishing a lifelong connection to enjoy and protect our American outdoor heritage.
There are seven federal agencies participating in the Every Kid Outdoors Program.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service
National Park Service
Bureau of Land Management
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Economic Impact of National Parks
National parks are great contributors to our nation’s economy; supporting a historically low unemployment rate of 3.6%, which is the lowest the unemployment rate has been since 1969.
According to the annual National Park Service report, 2018 National Park Visitor Spending Effects, more than 318 million visitors spent $20.2 billion in communities within 60 miles of a park in the National Park System. Of the 329,000 jobs supported by visitor spending, more than 268,000 jobs exist in the park gateway communities.
In 2018, visitors to Grand Teton National Park spent $629 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 8,620 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $792 million.