Fourth grade students can get a free annual pass to visit more than 2,000 federal recreation areas with their families, classmates and friends. The Every Kid Outdoors Program 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.
“Introducing fourth grade students to America’s public lands provides them with limitless opportunities to have fun, be active, improve fitness and learn critical skills,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “Visits on class trips or family vacations to the rich variety of astonishing landscapes and historic treasures located on public lands will result in unforgettable experiences and, hopefully, forge lifelong connections to the outdoors.”
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.
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 uses between September 1, 2019, and August 31, 2020, to correspond to the traditional school year. The voucher may be exchanged for a keepsake pass at participating federal lands.
The voucher or pass grants free entry for fourth graders, all children under 16 in the group and up to three accompanying adults (or an entire car for drive-in parks) to most federally managed lands and waters. The pass does not cover expanded amenity fees such as camping or boat rides.
The great outdoors make a great classroom. Fourth grade educators are encouraged to take advantage of the wide range of educational programs and tools associated with the Every Kid Outdoors Program. Educational activities, field trip options, information and tools in English and Spanish, and the ability to print vouchers for passes for students are all available on the website.
The Every Kid Outdoors Program replaces the Every Kid in a Park Program that was established in 2015.
The program focuses on children ten years of age—the age of most fourth graders—based on research that indicates children ages nine through eleven 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 eleven 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. Lands and waters accessible with the pass can be located by viewing the websites of the participating agencies: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.