Why America’s National Parks Need Families More Than Ever

Note: This post originally appeared on Matador Network.

Teach.

Within the past 9 months or so, our family has fallen in love with America's National Parks. A few years ago, most of them wouldn't have even been on our radar. Sure, we knew where the Grand Canyon was, and we knew about Yosemite and Yellowstone, of course. But, do you know where to find Cuyahoga Valley National Park? Can you point out the difference between Glacier National Park and Glacier Bay National Park? We couldn't.

But now? We can't get enough, and our kids would be happy to point them out for you on a map.

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park Kentucky

Inspire.

You see, ever since learning about the Every Kid in a Park pass that grants free admission to 4th graders and their families, we've been on a mission to see as many parks as time and money will allow. Since September of 2016, we've witnessed the sun rising over Haleakala National Park in spectacular fashion and seen our 50th state grow larger by the minute at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We've experienced jaw-dropping winterscapes in Rocky Mountain National Park and explored foreign, underground worlds at Mammoth Cave National Park, the largest cave system in the world.

Sunrise at Haleakala National Park

Dawn at Haleakala National Park, Maui, HI

It has been an epic family adventure, and we're just getting started.

Unfortunately, these parks and public lands are endangered, not from natural disasters, but from drastic cuts in government funding. Soon there may not be enough resources to properly manage these treasures. If any of you have visited one of these parks or any of the 419 parks under the care of the National Park Service, then you know what a tragedy this would be, and why we should all be concerned.

Take the Kids.

Honestly, if it weren't for the Every Kid in a Park program, this threat might have gone unnoticed by us. I suspect many other families don't even realize it exists either, and so we're trying to do our part to get families involved by simply promoting America's National Parks. Get out and see your parks. I guarantee you'll find something you'll love and wish you had started sooner.

Haleakala Cinder Cones

Cinder Cones at Sunrise - Haleakala National Park, Maui, HI

Click here to read the rest of this article over at Matador.

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