On October 28th, the United States Department of the Interior announced plans to extend the 2019-2020 Every Kid Outdoors (EKO) pass into 2021.
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This is a big win for the millions of children and families who were not able to visit public lands and waters due to the COVID-19 global pandemic which shut down many parks to visitors and severely limited park operations.
For those that don’t know, the EKO pass offers fourth graders and their families free admission to national parks as well as public lands and waters. Many states also accept this pass at state parks, too.
The American Heart Association was instrumental in advocating for the Every Kid Outdoors program to become law. After the 2019-2020 pass expired on August 31st, the AHA supported efforts to encourage the Department of the Interior to extend the pass so that no child would miss their opportunity to visit our national parks and waters for free. For many, 2020 has largely been spent inside due to stay at home orders caused by the global pandemic and by extending the EKO pass through 2021, more children and families will be able to safely access our national parks – while adhering to public health guidelines – for healthy activities like walking, biking, or rolling, which is something we can all support!