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Two people cast a line into a river

Junior Ranger Angler

Junior Ranger Angler program at New River Gorge National Park & Preserve
NPS Photo


Get hooked on recreational opportunities in national parks.

Inspired by the thrill of catching your first fish, the Junior Angler program encourages kids to enjoy the vast recreational opportunities of our national parks. Today, nearly 200 parks allow recreational fishing, presenting a great opportunity for the National Park Service to educate and engage the next generation of fishing enthusiasts while connecting to communities through meaningful activities and immersive experiences for the whole family.

Since the 1960’s, the Junior Ranger program has inspired children and their families to explore the great outdoors. As the most recent Junior Ranger program, Junior Ranger Angler encourages young people to earn their Junior Ranger patch and certificate by participating in a series of fishing activities in a national park and then sharing their experience with a park ranger. The Junior Ranger Angler program does more than simply introduce recreational fishing – it creates sustainable opportunities for youth to grow their skills through connecting with community-led organizations, developing gear libraries, and hosting accessible events to bring fishing to youth of all abilities.

Program Stories

Learn more about NPF-supported Junior Ranger Angler projects in parks.

Canoes lined up on a beach

By the Numbers

  • 4,800
    Junior Ranger Anglers
    In 2022, NPF helped 4,879 young people earn their junior ranger badges at national parks across the country.
  • 45
    Participating Sites
    Launched in 2019, the program now supports in-park fishing clinics at over 45 parks and is growing nationwide.
  • 369
    Public Events
    In 2022, 369 public fishing events brought over 12,000 visitors to national park sites for youth-centered fishing activities.

Program Highlights

A pile of Junior Ranger Angler badges
Fishing in America's Front Yard

To bring accessible fishing opportunities and environmental education to local families, National Mall & Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C. held two family fishing events, with one day of instruction specifically designed to engage with the local deaf community. The park hired a fishing guide, American Sign Language interpreters, and provided fishing rigs for families.

A young visitor smiles at the camera, he holds a fishing rod and wears a life vest
Engaging Communities at the Pond's Edge

This project allowed Cuyahoga Valley National Park to deliver a robust, 15-week summer fishing program series that engaged local children and their families in shore fishing in park ponds. The park integrates fishing into all aspects of community programming. including programs for the general public, family programs for BIPOC communities, and programs offered for community-based organizations.

Palm trees set against a bright blue ocean
Peskadot Junior Ranger Angler

This project at War in the Pacific National Historical Park conducted traditional fishing clinics and family fishing derbies for local villagers promoting safe and sustainable fishing practices, community engagement, and stewardship of natural and cultural resources. The three day program culminated in a Family Rod and Reel Fishing Derby.

Green meadows leading to a snowy mountain landscape
Engaging Local & Native Youth

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve utilized Junior Ranger Angler Day camp programs to educate and engage the next generation of fishing enthusiasts as well as build and strengthen relationships between local communities and the park. The park worked with local tribal councils and schools to recruit youth to the day camps, which included elders sharing information about traditional skills.

Program Updates


Thank You

This program was made possible by generous support from the Pisces Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Al Baldwin, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and Winnebago.