Program offers fourth-graders fee passes to national parks

Every Kid in a Park gives students, and those accompanying them, free access to park areas — including Olympic National Park.

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — The National Park Service is offering another way for fourth-graders to be educated this school year.

Every Kid in a Park program gives fourth-grade students, and those accompanying them, free access to more than 2,000 federally managed lands and waters — including Olympic National Park.

Olympic National Park protects nearly a million acres of mountains, forests and coastline with beaches, short nature trails and picnic areas that offer innumerable opportunities for families to explore and enjoy the outdoors, said Barb Maynes, park spokeswoman.

Olympic National Park was selected to receive a 2016 field trip grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charitable partner of America’s national parks, to support the Every Kid in a Park program, inaugurated last year.

The grant is part of the Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program.

The $7,320 grant will provide transportation for fourth-grade students from local school districts to visit the park as part of the park’s ‘Ecosystems Olympic’ program, Maynes said.

The program also includes a ranger visit to each fourth-grade class on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Thanks to the grant, approximately 750 students from Port Angeles, Sequim, Crescent, Quillayute Valley and Cape Flattery school districts will be able to complement their classroom experience with an in-person park visit, Maynes said.

The Every Kid in a Park pass — which features a new design for this year’s students — is valid for a full calendar year that began Thursday.

The pass grants free entry for fourth-graders and up to three accompanying adults (or an entire car for drive-in parks) to most federally managed lands and waters, including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries.

The newly expanded Every Kid in a Park website has links to educational activities, trip planning, field trip options, the downloadable pass, and additional information in both English and Spanish.

After completing an educational activity, a child can download and print a pass. The paper pass can be traded for a more durable pass at participating federal sites nationwide, including sites at Olympic National Park.

Visit www.EveryKidinaPark.gov to download the pass and obtain more information.

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