Every Kid Outdoors
Our national parks and public lands are outdoor classrooms with endless opportunities to learn and make memories. Last week, I enjoyed leading a group of young students from northern New Mexico on a hike in Pecos National Historical Park. We enjoyed taking in all of the beautiful scenery and learning about important history that took place in the park.
I introduced bipartisan legislation last month with Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to encourage kids and their families to get outdoors and experience America's public lands. The Every Kid Outdoors Act would make permanent the Every Kid in a Park started by President Obama to offer fourth graders and their families free entrance to all federally managed public lands, waters, and historic sites, including national parks - more than 2,000 sites in all.
The Every Kid in a Park initiative was an incredibly successful program for our public lands. It inspired $2 million in private donations and volunteer hours, and created hundreds of partnerships with schools, non-profits, and private sector businesses to support outdoor education programming and recreation opportunities for underserved youth. The program was part of the campaign to commemorate the Centennial of the National Park Service, which led to record-setting visitation numbers.
I discussed the Every Kid Outdoors Act on KUNM's The Children's Hour. You can listen here to learn more about the bill and hear some good ideas for places to hike with children in New Mexico.
Connecting our kids to the outdoors can inspire a lifelong connection to conservation. Families in New Mexico have long histories of using our public lands for hiking, hunting, fishing and other outdoor traditions, both new and old. If we can teach our children to love our public lands, they will work to protect them for their kids and future generations.
United States Senator