WASHINGTON, D.C. – Underscoring President Bush’s proclamation declaring April 19 – April 27 as National Park Week, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today urged Americans to visit the national parks to experience the natural beauty, majesty and inspirational history of our special places and to show their commitment to this uniquely American idea.
“This year's theme, ‘Kids In Parks,’ highlights an initiative that is close to my heart – encouraging families and especially our youngsters to explore these natural and cultural wonderlands both physically and intellectually,” Kempthorne said.
“This is a wonderful time of year to get outside to hike, bike, picnic and generally enjoy these scenic landscapes. Coinciding with Earth Day on April 22, this week offers an opportunity to encourage our children to become good stewards of the land and to recognize the employees and volunteers who protect these natural and historical treasures,” Kempthorne said.
This year’s events also celebrate the President’s National Park Centennial Initiative to preserve and enhance these magnificent places and to prepare them for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016.
During National Park Week, on Thursday, April 24, Secretary Kempthorne will hold a press conference on the west steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C to announce the first round of projects to be undertaken as part of a public-private funding partnership under the Centennial Initiative. These projects will combine $24.6 million of federal funding with an equal amount of philanthropic donations to provide visitors to national parks with new or remodeled facilities, upgraded exhibits, and new uses of technology such as podcasts and cell phone tours.
National parks across the nation will be holding events to mark National Park Week from Saturday, April 19 through Sunday, April 27 this year. About 200 parks will commemorate the 2nd annual Junior Ranger Day on April 26 with fun-filled activities and special events.
The “Kids in Parks” theme will continue throughout the year as parks expand and improve youth-oriented ranger programs, educational exhibits, and Junior Ranger activities. About 300 National Park Service sites have Junior Ranger programs which encourage children to “Explore-Learn-Protect” national parks.
A complete list of National Park Week and Junior Ranger Day activities is available at http://www.nps.gov/npweek.