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WASHINGTON — As part of the National Park Service’s centennial celebration several years ago, the U.S. Department of the Interior crafted a program allowing every fourth grader in the nation to claim and use a pass allowing free access to most federal fee-collecting sites.
The pass, which was essentially a free America the Beautiful Pass, allowed the students and their families to visit the parks at no cost.
Initially done administratively under the provisions of Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, the program was converted into legislation by inclusion in the Natural Resources Management Act (Public Law No: 116-9), which was signed into law in March.
The law has also been renamed and is now known as the Every Kid Outdoors Act. The authority to grant the annual passes will expire in seven years, unless it is renewed by Congress.
The National Park Service has yet to issue guidance on the new provisions and advises use of the description and application forms at everykidinapark.gov.
While the provisions impact a few concessioners responsible for fee collection at certain sites, the most important consideration is its use for marketing and promotional purposes, said Derrick Crandall, a counselor with the National Park Hospitality Association.
Free admission for everyone
On April 20, the first day of National Park Week, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will provide free park access. The fee waiver includes entrance fees only.
Other fees such as boating permits, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included.
The week has a number of special celebrations, including National Junior Ranger Day (April 20), Military and Veterans Recognition Day (April 21), Earth Day (April 22) and Park Rx Day (April 28).
Other details on the week are at: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/national-park-week.htm
SOURCE: National Park Hospitality Association press release