Obama to give free parks admission to fourth graders, Feb 19, 2015

Obama to give free parks admission to fourth graders By Gregory Korte, USA TODAY WASHINGTON — President Obama will announce Thursday that the National Park Service will give all fourth graders and their families free admission to national parks and other federal lands for a full year. The Every Kid in a Park initiative is part of an effort to get schoolchildren outdoors and more active. It will start in the school year that begins next fall, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service in 2016. Family admission to national parks usually costs $80 for an annual pass, but fourth graders and their families will be able to get a free pass that will give them admission to national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other federal public lands and waters, according to a White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity to allow the president to make the announcement. Obama will make the announcement Thursday in Chicago, where he will announce that he’s designating the Pullman neighborhood as a national monument. The neighborhood, on the city’s south side, was built by the Pullman Palace Car Co. for the workers who made its sleeper cars for passenger trains beginning in 1867 — but it’s most significant for its role in labor unrest and civil rights advances. Obama will also announce designation of Honolulu National Monument in Hawaii, where Japanese-American citizens and prisoners of war were held in an internment camp during World War II, and Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado, a popular whitewater rafting destination along the Arkansas River. The cost of the free passes for fourth graders will come out of a $20 million National Park Service budget for youth engagement programs. With the help of the National Parks Foundation, the Park Service will also provide grants for free transportation for schools that need it, and educational materials for teachers. According to National Geographic, the best national parks spots for children include Yellowstone in Wyoming, the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado, the Grand Canyon in Arizona and the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.

Editor’s note: National Parks, etc. in Texas:

  • Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
  • Amistad National Recreation Area
  • Big Bend National Park
  • Big Thicket National Preserve
  • Chamizal National Memorial
  • El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail
  • El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail
  • Fort Davis National Historic Site
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park
  • Lake Meredith National Recreation Area
  • Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
  • Padre Island National Seashore
  • Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site
  • Rio Grande Wild And Scenic River
  • San Antonio Missions National Historical Park