SANDY HOOK, NJ - Gateway National Recreation Area (Gateway) invites all fourth grade students to visit the park for free in the summer of 2016 as part of the White House’s Every Kid in a Park program. During this school year, fourth grade students can go to to complete an activity and obtain a free annual entry pass to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks.  Starting today, this pass can also be used to waive parking fees at Gateway’s Sandy Hook Unit and Jacob Riis Park in Queens between Memorial Day and Labor Day of 2016.

“During the National Park Service’s Centennial celebration, we want our neighbors to get to know the national park in their back yard,” said Gateway Superintendent Jen Nersesian.  “We hope these free passes for fourth graders will help these students, their classes and their families to find their park this year.”

Gateway offers a variety of activities that fourth graders and their family can enjoy, including family sailing programs, family camping programs, birding programs at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, educational programs at all three units of Gateway and self-guided junior ranger activities at Jamaica Bay and Sandy Hook.

To receive their free pass for national parks, fourth graders can visit the Every Kid in a Park website [JHW1]  and play a game to access their special Every Kid in a Park pass. Fourth graders and their families can then use this pass for free entry into national parks and other federal public lands and waters across the country from September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016.  The website also includes fun and engaging learning activities aligned to educational standards, trip planning tools, safety and packing tips and other tips and other important and helpful information for educators and parents.

The goal of the Every Kid in a Park program is to connect fourth graders with the great outdoors and inspire them to become future environmental stewards, ready to preserve and protect national parks and other public lands for years to come.  The program is an important part of the National Park Service’s centennial celebration in 2016, which encourages everyone to Find Your Park.

Every Kid in a Park is a nationwide initiative, launched by President Obama and supported by eight federal agencies, including: the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Education, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.