© NPS photo by Michael Quinn
February 24, 2015

Calling all future Leslie Knopes! Visiting America’s National Parks is about to get a little easier. Last week, President Obama announced a new “Every Kid in a Park” initiative, which grants fourth-graders and their families free admission to National Parks, forests, and monuments for a full year. Starting in September, millions of students will receive a pass giving access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites including Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon.

Why the new policy? According to the White House, “more than 80 percent of American families live in urban areas, and many lack easy access to safe outdoor spaces.” At the same time, kids “are spending more time than ever in front of screens instead of outside.”

In an effort to serve students who might not otherwise visit the parks, the program will also award transportation grants to certain schools.

Don’t know any fourth-graders? There’s a whole list of free entrance days for all National Parks. (The next one is April 18-19, in celebration of National Park Week.) In the meantime, read on for some of our favorite stories featuring the National Parks:

Caroline Hallemann is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @challemann.

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