Guest Contributor: Callie Ward, USU Extension Assistant Professor
We are so lucky to have five National Parks in Utah! Some states don’t even have one! Our National Parks include Zions, Capital Reef, Canyonlands, Arches, and my personal favorite, Bryce Canyon. These parks offer millions of acres of historic structures, cultural artifacts, towering hoodoos, and endless skies. Our federal public lands and waters (we can’t forget about Lake Powell aka Glen Canyon National Recreation Area) belong to all Americans and are waiting for you to explore them!
But I’ll let you in on a secret (okay, most people know about it!), check out Every Kid Outdoors before you go to any National Park. Every Kid Outdoors is a federal public lands youth initiative to get all 4th graders and their families to experience the places that are home to our country’s natural treasures, rich history, and vibrant culture. Lucky for me, I have a 4th grader and we live right in the middle of 3 of these! So, we have already hit Zion’s and Bryce, and of course Lake Powell this year with a Capital Reef trip planned for August. Just a few years back when my daughter was a 4th grader, we hit all 5!
For those of you who don’t have a 4th grader right now, be sure to remember when your kids hit that benchmark! But also consider the value of the US Park Pass. Each Annual Pass admits pass owner(s) and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas; and pass owner + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, where per-person fees are charged. (Children under 16 are always admitted free). If you plan on hitting 3 or more National Parks, it is worth your investment. Even better, US Park Pass is good for one year and thousands of opportunities. Passes ship without names on them. Share pass ownership with family or friends; each pass can be signed by two main pass owners.
If you are out and about, here are my favorite family friendly hikes in our Mighty 5!
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