WASHINGTON – More than two dozen new projects at national parks across the country will give kids and adults the opportunity to participate in recreation and exercise programs thanks to 25 Active Trails grants from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks.
The 25 grants announced today total $478,000 and provide funding for parks across the country to collaborate with community partners to offer a variety of activities for people of all ages.
“From Zumba and yoga, to paddling along the seashore, to guided hikes for veterans, our national parks are places for healthy living, wellness, fun, and healing,” said Susan Newton, senior vice president of grants & programs at the National Park Foundation. “Thanks to our Active Trails program, we’re able to help people from all backgrounds discover how they can actively enjoy our national parks in ways that speak to their unique interests.”
“National parks, both urban and rural, can provide opportunities to improve one’s physical and mental health," said Sara Newman, Director of the Office of Public Health at the National Park Service. “The scientific evidence is mounting to demonstrate that physical activity in the outdoors can lead to numerous health benefits, and we are proud our parks are a health resource for this nation. These National Park Foundation grants will help all visitors experience our parks as places to recreate, inspire, reflect, and be active.”
Since 2008, the National Park Foundation has granted more than $3.35 million through its Active Trails program. As of early 2015, Active Trails has engaged more than 12,000 volunteers and 740 project partners at national parks across the country.
Collaborations between schools, teachers, youth groups, Friends Groups, and other partner organizations make each grantee’s project possible. Examples include:
- Paddling at Canaveral National Seashore (Florida)
The park is establishing a paddling program in the Playalinda District that will allow hundreds of visitors to access the lagoon's resources and reap the physical benefits of paddling. The program will be run by volunteer Master Naturalists in Coastal Ecology who have great knowledge of the marine resource and are experienced paddlers.
- Kayaking with Youth at Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)
The park is partnering with Kent State University's Department of Recreation to offer water-based recreation programs for youth, including a pilot Junior Ranger Kayak Program for an estimated 120 youth.
- Running Club at Fort Davis National Historic Site (Texas)
Fort Davis National Historic Site is partnering with Fort Davis High School to support their running club. The park is making their trails available to the running club to train three times per week, giving students a safe and scenic place to practice. To kick off the partnership, the park will host two Fun Run 5Ks - one for the students and the second for the general public.
- Hiking with Native American Veterans at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site (Arizona)
Utilizing two new trails that were constructed by Native American youth in previous Active Trails programs, Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site will offer Native American veterans a place to heal. Park staff will offer monthly guided hikes to nearly 160 veterans, providing them an opportunity to connect with nature, share healthy meals, and help maintain the trails. Each guided trail experience will close with a prayer – a vital part of the Native American culture.
The entire list of the 2016 Active Trails recipients can be found here.
The Active Trails projects are great examples of the countless ways there are to #FindYourPark. Launched in March 2015, Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque is a public awareness and education movement to inspire people from all backgrounds to connect with, celebrate, and support America’s national parks and community-based programs. Celebrating the National Park Service Centennial and setting the stage for the Service's next 100 years, #FindYourPark invites people to discover and share their own unique connections to our nation's natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history.
The National Park Foundation wishes to thank The Coca-Cola Company and The Coca-Cola Foundation for their generous support of the Active Trails program.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 409 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.