Salazar Underscores Importance of Healthy Outdoor Activity for Young People in Visit to Great Falls Park near Nation's Capital

Last edited 09/29/2021

McLEAN, Va. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today underscored the importance of outdoor recreation for young people, taking a hike with members of the Youth Conservation Corps at Great Falls Park outside Washington, one of thousands of federal, state, and local parks and wildlife refuges near urban areas across the country.

“An average young person today spends six hours a day in front of a computer or TV and less than four minutes playing outdoors,” Salazar said. “If our young people today are going to grow up to be healthy adults, we must encourage them to get outdoors. In particular, we need to introduce them to the beauty of our national parks and wildlife refuges, many of which are within easy traveling distance of urban areas.”

To encourage a passion for nature in young people, Salazar recently signed a Secretarial Order creating the Office of Youth in Natural Resources in the Department of the Interior, and President Obama has asked Congress to increase the budget of Interior's youth programs by $70 million in FY 2010, an increase of $50 million over FY 2009.

The Office of Youth in Natural Resources will coordinate present and future youth initiatives, the signature program of which will be a 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps. The corps will be modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps that provided 3 million men with jobs in the 1930s. By comparison, the 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps will include women as well as men and strive for greater diversity.

At Salazar's direction, the National Park Service is waiving entrance fees at its parks, including Great Falls, on three weekends this summer. The final weekend will be August 15-16.

“This gives parents a free opportunity to take their children to a national park and enjoy the fresh air, natural beauty and rich heritage of our country,” he said.

For images from the event, please click the following link:

Was this page helpful?

Please provide a comment