LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The Bureau of Land Management Las Cruces District invites families and friends to get outdoors and enjoy public land throughout the year. With that invitation comes the opportunity for fourth grade students to sign up for a free Every Kid Outdoors Annual Pass. Locally, this pass provides free access to places like Dripping Springs Natural Area (Natural Area) and Aguirre Spring Recreation Area (Aguirre Spring) near Las Cruces, NM. Additionally, the annual pass is good for more than 2,000 other federal recreation areas in the United States.
The Every Kid Outdoors Program encourages fourth graders to explore, learn and recreate in spectacular settings, including national monuments, wildlife refuges, marine sanctuaries and forests. “There is so much to discover on public land that surround us,” said BLM Park Ranger Daniella Barraza. “Visits on class trips or family vacations to experience the beautiful mountains and desert landscapes will provide life-long memories. The benefits of being outdoors are important, especially for kids. It impacts their well-being and academic success,” Barraza added.
The BLM Las Cruces District offers classroom pre-visits and field trips to the Natural Area and the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, all within the Las Cruces Public Schools. Thanks to private donations managed by the Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, the BLM is able to offer transportation funding to schools that need it.
To obtain the free pass, fourth grade students are encouraged to visit the Every Kid Outdoors website at www.everykidoutdoors.gov, participate in a short educational activity and download the pass. The pass is valid for use between Sept.1, 2019, and Aug. 31, 2020, and corresponds with the traditional school year. The pass grants free entry for fourth graders, all children under 16 in the group and an entire car for drive-in parks (or up to three accompanying adults) to most federally managed lands and waters. However, the pass does not cover expanded amenity fees, such as camping or boating.
The great outdoors make a great classroom. Fourth grade educators are encouraged to take advantage of the wide range of educational programs and tools associated with the Every Kid Outdoors Program. Educational activities, field trip options, information and tools in English and Spanish, and the ability to print the passes are all available on the website.
The Every Kid Outdoors Program was established by Congress in 2019. It replaces the Every Kid in the Park Program, which was launched in 2015. It is an interagency collaboration between the BLM, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Forest Service.
For more information about Every Kid Outdoors, contact BLM Seasonal Park Ranger Sylvia Turman at email@example.com or by calling her at 575-525-4414.