WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks hearing, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M) advocated for bipartisan legislation he introduced to provide America’s fourth graders and their families free entrance to all federally managed land, waters, and historic sites, including national parks – more than 2,000 sites in all.
During the hearing, the Every Kid Outdoors Act received strong bipartisan support from the committee, demonstrating growing momentum for the bill. Senator Heinrich expressed the importance of encouraging kids to get outdoors and experience America’s public spaces, while engaging in healthy activity and educational programs. Senator Heinrich also raised concerns with the Trump Administration’s bureaucratic attempts to delay implementation of programs like Every Kid Outdoors that have robust bipartisan support and proven success.
The legislation was introduced last week by Senator Heinrich and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and is supported by the Outdoors Alliance For Kids (OAK), National Recreation and Park Association, Sierra Club, YMCA of the USA, The Wilderness Society, National Park Trust, Girl Scouts of the USA, National Wildlife Federation, the Trust for Public Land, and the Outdoor Industry Association.
Senator Heinrich, co-chair of the bipartisan Outdoor Recreation Caucus, is a longtime supporter of enhancing educational outdoor recreation opportunities for communities in New Mexico. He played a key role in establishing the 570-acre Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, the Southwest's first urban wildlife refuge. Early in his career, Senator Heinrich served in AmeriCorps for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and was the Executive Director of the Cottonwood Gulch Foundation where he led youth educational wilderness expeditions and outdoor programs in the American Southwest.
In recognition of the seventh annual National Kids to Parks Day, Senator Heinrich recently launched an online resource guide to provide New Mexico families with ideas and activities to explore the great outdoors.
Testimony and the archived webcast of today's hearing will be available here.