As well as being home to the first national park in the United States, did you know that Wyoming has five major national parks and monuments within it? That’s right, our great state is home to Yellowstone National Park, Devil’s Tower National Monument, Grand Teton National Park, Fort Laramie National Historical Site, and Fossil Butte National Monument.
The U.S. has over 61 designated National Parks within its borders, covering 84.6 million acres of land! I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had a desire to see as many of them possible. We should embrace the beauty in our great outdoors! Furthermore, adventuring in the national parks within your state (or others!) can save time and money, as well as make many cherished memories. Don’t take your opportunities for granted, Wyomingites!
That’s why it’s so great that our legislators in Washington, D.C. are considering a program within the National Resources Management Act, called the Every Kid Outdoors Act (EKO). This bi-partisan legislation would allow the Department of the Interior to continue a program allowing fourth grade kids (and up to three adults accompanying each child) FREE ACCESS to our national parks! With passage of this bill, lawmakers can greatly increase the likelihood that people will take advantage of the opportunity and spend time being active outdoors in our national parks - kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, horseback riding, biking, and fishing - and that, my friends will make hearts grow happy and healthy!
Most of you are probably aware that healthy habits should be nourished from a young age in order to maintain a happy, healthy heart throughout your life. Due to a constant barrage of technology, from phones to movies to video games and more, we are beginning to see an upward trend of obesity and cardiovascular disease in our kiddos. It’s important that we get them (and ourselves!) off the couch and instill an interest in the outdoors in them so that it becomes a regular part of their lives as they grow up and transition into adulthood. As an added bonus, this exposure can give children a lifelong desire for adventure, service, and respect for their surrounding ecosystems.
If you live in Wyoming, you’ve most likely been to at least one national park in your lifetime. Wasn’t it a blast? Don’t you want future generations to be able to enjoy and explore them too? You can help! The EKO Act has been included in a government lands package that just passed the United States Senate! The House of Representatives will vote on the legislation later this month and we need your help to make sure it passes.
UPDATE 2/26/19 - I'm so excited to share that we did it! It’s time to CELEBRATE! After months of work and thousands of calls, emails and tweets from advocates, the United States Congress has passed the #EveryKidOutdoorsAct!
Get outside and play, Wyomingites- adventure awaits!
Forever your Miss Wyoming 2017 and AHA Advocate,