AORE Partner News March 2018 - Page 18

Youth spend more than fifty hours a week on electronic media and just minutes a day playing outdoors. The situation is so dire that a national movement has emerged to reintroduce a new generation of kids to nature.

Historically, the Interior Department has championed opportunities for kids to experience America’s great outdoors. For example, leading up to the centennial of our national parks, the Find Your Park campaign and the Every Kid in a Park program were launched to connect the next generation with our parks.

Raising fees to the proposed rate of $70 per vehicle may price middle- and low-income families out of our parks and reverse important strides the the park service has made over the years to expand equity and access to nature for all. To add insult to injury, the park service also announced it is scaling back fee free days in national parks to just four days in 2018, plummeting from sixteen in 2016, and ten in 2017.

The American people want to see more opportunities, not less, for kids and families to experience nature. This proposed fee hike will do more harm than good no matter how you look at it, and the Administration should withdraw its proposal and work with Congress to identify an appropriate budget to maintain our parks.

Photography: Davis Harmon