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A boy holding a fish

Junior Ranger Angler

Ebony Anglers fishing program at Cape Lookout
Chris Davis for the National Park Foundation


Creating Connections at the Water's Edge

The Junior Ranger Angler program connects young people with the wonders of national parks through fishing, water exploration, and waterway stewardship. Building community connections around meaningful experiences outdoors, Junior Ranger Angler welcomes and introduces youth to national parks through meaningful engagements. Through Junior Ranger Angler, fishing is the catalyst for people and communities to be inspired, experience joy, and build lasting relationships while connecting with nature and the bodies of water in and around national parks.

Today, nearly 200 parks allow recreational fishing, presenting a great opportunity for the National Park Service to inspire, educate, and engage the next generation of park stewards through collaborative community-centered programs.

The Junior Ranger Angler program does more than simply introduce fishing–it supports cultural connections, deepens community relationships, and creates sustainable opportunities for youth to grow their skills and confidence through connecting with community-led organizations, developing gear libraries, and hosting accessible events to bring fishing to youth of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Junior Ranger Angler programming also leverages the NPS Junior Ranger program by encouraging young people to earn their Junior Ranger patch and certificate by participating in a series of fishing activities in a national park using the Junior Ranger Angler Let’s Go Fishing booklet, increasing both knowledge of fishing techniques and stewardship of the environment.

Program Stories

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

Canoes lined up on a beach

By the Numbers

  • 6,600
    Junior Ranger Anglers
    In 2023, NPF helped 6,615 young people earn their junior ranger badges at national parks across the country.
  • 45
    Participating Sites
    In 2023, the program supported in-park fishing clinics at 45 parks nationwide.
  • 360
    Public Events
    In 2023, 360 public fishing events brought over 13,500 visitors to national park sites for youth-centered fishing activities.

Program Highlights

An adult and a young girl hold a fishing rod
Amplifying Community-led Programming

From engaging DC residents at Anacostia Park, inspiring young community members in Freedman’s Town, or connecting families to their heritage at Moore’s Creek National Battlefield, the Junior Ranger Angler grant program aims to amplify community lead programming.

In 2023, the Community Development Center of Freedman’s Town worked to expand fishing access for local youth and families through their Junior Ranger Angler program. Ten fishing events were held throughout the year to connect participants ranging in ages 4 to over 65 to Big Thicket National Preserve and other local waterways. The Community Development center worked with local schools to leverage volunteer opportunities for students.

A park ranger teaching a boy how to ice fish
Supporting Cultural Connections

Junior Ranger Angler grantees such as Niobrara National River, Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore, and Wrangell St Elias Park and Preserve welcomed Indigenous youth to local NPS sites to share traditional fishing techniques with elders and community.

During fishing day camps at Wrangell St Elias National Park and Preserve, youth from the Native Village of Tezdlen (Tazlina), and Chitina Traditional Indian Village shared fishing techniques and stories with family while enjoying what the park has to offer. Focused on strengthening the relationship between tribal villages and NPS, this program fostered opportunities to connect the park with children and families from local Indigenous communities through fishing.

Two people sitting at a table outside
Designing Accessible Experiences

Through centering inclusive design, Shenandoah, Rocky Mountain, and Delaware Water Gap National Parks ensured accessible fishing opportunities and meaningful experiences for youth with disabilities, intergenerational audiences, and disabled Veterans. In a continued collaboration, Rocky Mountain National Park partnered with National Sports Center for the Disabled to conduct two accessible community fishing events and weekly junior ranger events throughout the summer. All fishing clinics and events were held at a historic trout lodge where the river was accessible for participants with mobility impairments and delivered through an inclusive and accessible program design.

A park ranger, in uniform, stands on a dock with a handful of students as they all fish
Inspiring Park Stewards Through Education

Through environmental education focused programming, grantees such as Voyageurs Conservancy, the James River Association, and Acadia National Park supported inspiring the next generation of park stewards by providing resources and education to better care for the parks and their waterways.

Voyageurs National Park in partnership with the Voyageurs Conservancy developed a “Get the Lead Out!” educational campaign to accompany their Junior Ranger Angler fishing clinic activities. In partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, “Get the Lead Out” brought awareness to the poisoning of fish, waterfowl, and other wildlife from lead tackle ingestion and introduced accessible and ecologically conscious alternatives that protect sensitive ecosystems while encouraging a lead-free generation of anglers.

Program Updates


Thank You

This program is made possible thanks to funding from Outdoor Exploration initiative supporting partners Winnebago and Winnebago Industries Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Pisces Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Al Baldwin, and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.