Rep. Porter Urges Permanent Support for Every Kid Outdoors Program
Legislation would grant free national park passes to all fourth and fifth grade students
Today, Reps. Katie Porter (D-CA) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced the Every Kid Outdoors Act to permanently authorize the special program that enables fourth graders and their families to visit national parks for free. In addition, their legislation would expand the Every Kid Outdoors program to include all fourth and fifth grade students, making it easier for families to visit our national treasures.
“The Every Kid Outdoors program teaches students about public lands, keeps kids healthy, lets families take affordable vacations, and boosts local economies—a win for everyone,” said Rep. Porter. “We’re privileged to have so many beautiful national parks and public lands across the country for families to enjoy. I’m devoted to protecting and expanding this unique opportunity to get our kids outdoors, and I’ll keep fighting to make our national parks accessible for every American.”
“Colorado is home to beautiful national parks that hold the potential to enrich all of our lives – especially young people,” said Rep. DeGette. “By continuing to provide fourth graders the opportunity to visit our national parks for free and by expanding this program to fifth graders, we can jumpstart a love for the outdoors and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards. I was proud to help lead the Every Kid Outdoors Act in the past, and I’m committed to ensuring this program continues in the future so the next generation will have access to the wealth these parks offer.”
Without action by Congress, the Every Kid Outdoors program is set to expire in 2026. Reps. Porter and DeGette’s bill recognizes the importance of the program to students, their families, and the local economies that rely on national park visitors. It would permanently reauthorize and expand the program to all fourth and fifth grade students, protecting Every Kid Outdoors for all future generations to enjoy. Outdoors Alliance for Kids and the Sierra Club have both endorsed the Every Kid Outdoors Act.
“Programs like Every Kid Outdoors are key for improving the physical and emotional health of children by making nature more accessible to them and their families,” said Julia Hurwit (she/her), Outdoors Alliance for Kids Campaign Manager. “In times where we are seeing a spike in mental health issues for young people, this expansion of the Every Kid Outdoors program provides an important outlet for them, and we applaud Representatives Porter and DeGette for their leadership on this issue.”
“The Every Kid Outdoors program has been a life-changing experience for thousands of fourth graders around the country,” said Jameelah M. Muhammad (she/her), Deputy Director of the Sierra Club Outdoors for All Campaign. “Expanding the program to include fifth graders is a natural next step, and an opportunity to continue fostering a connection to the outdoors in children while reducing the barriers they and their families face when experiencing public lands. As a mother and advocate for equitable outdoor access, I have seen the positive impact of outdoor access on my children, who have been able to benefit from Junior Ranger Programming at National Parks. Rep. Porter has long been a leader when it comes to advocating for children and the outdoors, and Sierra Club supports her continued efforts to expand that access.”
An avid national park visitor, Rep. Porter has led efforts to make our public lands more accessible and affordable. When her daughter, Betsy, reached 4th grade, Rep. Porter took her family on a trip to Zion National Park to highlight the benefits of the Every Kid Outdoors program. In 2022, she brought Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland to Orange County to talk with fourth graders about the special opportunity they have to learn about our parks. Last year, Rep. Porter urged her colleagues to expand funding for the Every Kid Outdoors program. As the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in the 117th Congress, Rep. Porter convened a hearing to learn how we can make our national parks more accessible for people with disabilities and veterans.