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Posted 9/2/2015

Release no. 15-078

Erica Skolte

Army Corps of Engineers supports new “Every Kid in a Park” recreation initiative
Fourth graders can now obtain pass that grants free access to federal lands and waters nationwide for them and their family

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new presidential initiative will provide all fourth grade students and their families with free admission for a full year to more than 2,000 federally-managed sites nationwide.

President Obama, with the support of the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (which includes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) announced the start of Every Kid in a Park initiative to give every child in the United States the chance to explore and learn about America’s great outdoors.

Fourth graders can visit the “Get Your Pass” section of the Every Kid in a Park website at www.everykidinapark.gov and complete a fun educational activity to obtain and print a personalized voucher for unlimited use at federal lands and waters for one year. Passes are valid from Sept. 1, 2015 through Aug. 31, 2016. The paper voucher can be exchanged for a more durable interagency annual fourth grade pass at certain federal sites. The Every Kid in a Park website also provides information on tips for trip planning and how parents and educators can get involved.

A primary goal of the Every Kid in a Park initiative is to bridge the growing disconnect between the next generation and the great outdoors, and to inspire children to become future stewards of our nation’s natural and historic treasures.

In Florida, fourth graders and their families can take advantage of the pass at several parks within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District.

At the W.P. Franklin North and South Recreation Areas, and Ortona North Recreation Area on the Caloosahatchee River, and the St. Lucie South Recreation Area on the St. Lucie River, the $3 boat ramp fee is waived for fourth graders with a pass when boating with their families. When the swim beach at the W.P. Franklin South Recreation Area is open, families of fourth graders with a pass swim free. The regular swim fee is $1 per person or $3 per carload for visitors age 13 and older.

“Recreation areas in the Jacksonville District are always wonderful and affordable places for families to enjoy the outdoors, and,  we don’t charge entrance fees,” said George Melanson, Corps natural resource manager in the South Florida Operations Office in Clewiston. “Our rangers and volunteers support the President’s ‘Every Kid in a Park’ initiative to the fullest extent. Though camping fees are not included in the program, we will honor the pass for swim and boat launch fees.”

“If you visit us at St. Lucie, Ortona or W.P. Franklin, please remember that we have free loaner life jackets available to ensure you have a safe visit while boating or just swimming,” said Brian Older, a park ranger at the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam recreation areas.

"The Every Kid in the Park initiative will connect kids to their local parks, so they can continue to take advantage of all that our outdoors has to offer,” said Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “Millions of children visit Army Corps of Engineers parks with their families and classrooms each year, and this initiative will help introduce millions more to the joys of recreation, education and our nation's water resources."

“With a majority of Army Corps of Engineers’ recreation areas located within 50 miles of metropolitan centers, our sites offer thousands of fourth graders, their families and educators easy access to many different types of recreational experiences,” said Maj. Gen. Ed Jackson, Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Army Corps of Engineers is the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor and water-based recreation, managing more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states. To find the Army Corps of Engineers’ recreation site near you, visit www.CorpsLakes.us.

For more on Every Kid in a Park follow on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/everykidinapark or @EveryKidinaPark
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Every-Kid-in-a-Park/1433456993647993
Instagram: https://instagram.com/everykidinapark/
YouTubeChannel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8NsvUGYCA93hlCfXxCwVlw