In recognition of the National Park Service’s Centennial celebration, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton announced today that the Maryland Park Service will honor the national “Every Kid in a Park” program. Through this initiative, which provides complimentary national park admission to fourth grade students and their families, Maryland will accept the pass for admission to state parks. The Earth Day announcement was made during a National Park Week visit to Assateague Island National Seashore and tour of Assateague State Park.
“The National Park Service is an important partner for Maryland, not just here on Assateague Island but across the state, from the Appalachian National Scenic Trail to the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park,” Governor Larry Hogan said. “I am very pleased that the state can participate in this fantastic educational program, and I encourage everyone to visit Maryland this summer to take advantage of our beloved bays and world-renowned parks.”
The Maryland Park Service will accept the National Park Service’s “Every Kid in a Park” pass now through Aug. 31 at all 72 state parks. The purpose of the national program is to increase accessibility to public lands and waters for children – primarily 9-10 years of age – and their families. The pass will provide free admission to Maryland state parks but will not cover additional amenities, such as camping, boat rentals or staff-led tours.
“This program will cultivate, develop and engage the next generation of environmental advocates, leaders and stewards,” Secretary Belton said. “Educating and engaging our students and youth about our natural world is critically important, especially during this developmental period. Connecting more children with nature is and will remain a top priority for the department as we continue to look for innovative ways to enhance and increase public access to our lands and waters.”
As part of the visit, Governor Hogan presented a proclamation to the National Park Service highlighting the state’s shared commitment to connecting and nurturing the next generation of advocates, supporters and visitors, and highlighting the positive contribution of the National Park Service’s 16 national parks, six national natural landmarks and two national heritage areas in Maryland. Following the presentation, the governor took a tour of Assateague State Park, where he reviewed ongoing reconstruction projects following Winter Storm Jonas. The state has rebuilt a sand dune, planted additional beach grasses and plans to erect new fencing along the shore.