Monthly Archives: March 2015

Record-breaking year for parks

Last year the number of national park visits blasted out the water the previous record set in 1987. In that year parks saw 287.2 million; last year that number jumped to 292.8 million.

The number of visits last year also showed a rebound of seven percent (19 million) from 2013, when a 16-day government shutdown and Super Storm Sandy a year earlier contributed to a marked decline in visitors.

When the numbers were made public, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis commented, “As the National Park Service strives to share a more inclusive and well-rounded version of the American story through the places we care for, it is gratifying to see more people than ever coming to their national parks to enjoy nature, learn about history, and spend time with their families.”

I was one of those many visitors to parks last year. Read more about my travels during that time.

Explore your parks and the National Park Service.

Support your parks and the NPS.

Photo © Heather Hansen. An NPS ranger gives a talk to a crowd at Fort Sumter National Monument.


‘Every Kid In a Park’ goes live

In effort to get more little people out-of-doors, the White House has launched the Every Kid In a Park Initiative. With more than 80 percent of American families now living in cities, access to safe outdoor spaces and increased screen time (53 hours per week, on average) are creating a growing divide between kids and the great outdoors, according to the White House press release.

As part of the effort, 4th grade students and their families will have free access to all national parks (and other federal lands) starting with the 2015-2016 school year. Activities and programs to engage kids will get a boost, including bringing one million fourth-graders to national parks from low-income areas.

Read more about the initiative.

Explore your parks and the National Park Service.

Support your parks and the NPS.

Photo courtesy of the NPS.