GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - We dare you to try to keep up with the Junior Rangers at Grand Canyon National Park! It's fun and healthy to play in the parks and now National Park Junior Rangers get an extra reward for movin' it outside.
Grand Canyon National Park is one of 20 national parks kicking off Let's Move Outside Junior Ranger. Let's Move Outside, led by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, provides tools and information to parents to make it easy to enjoy the outdoors and be active and healthy. It is part of First Lady Michelle Obama's nationwide campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation.
"Young people inspire us; we want to help them be healthy and curious for life. It starts with family fun. We want to help parents learn the skills they need to enjoy the outdoors with their kids," National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said.
Young people who complete at least one physical activity in pursuit of their Junior Ranger badge receive a special sticker that designates them as a Let's Move Outside Junior Ranger. The activities range from adventures like hiking with a ranger to body surfing and canoeing.
"Grand Canyon National Park's Let's Move Outside Junior Ranger program offers kids and parents the chance to experience the Grand Canyon and enjoy many of the park's wonders below the rim on the Junior Ranger Adventure Hike. This is not only great exercise, but also an incredibly fun way to see and learn about the park," Park Superintendent Steve Martin said.
"Kids and parents learn safe hiking techniques while hiking with a park ranger and may explore a fossil site and the colorful rocks, create artwork, or learn about plants and animals during a one- to two-mile (2-3 km) round-trip hike. The hike is strenuous; so bring water, good hiking shoes, a hat, and sunscreen and enjoy the outdoors!"
The Junior Ranger Adventure Hike meets daily on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park at 9 a.m. at the Hermits Rest bell. The hike is approximately two hours on the challenging Hermit Trail and is ideal for families with children ages 9-14. To arrive on time for this program, board the free Hermits Rest shuttle bus by 8 a.m.
The park also offers other Junior Ranger Programs and programs for kids of all ages on the South and North rims of Grand Canyon. Visitors should check for program and free shuttle bus information in The Guide, a free park publication offered on-line at http://www.nps.gov/grca, at park visitor contact stations and entrance stations. For more information about the Let's Move Outside Junior Ranger Program at Grand Canyon National Park call Park Ranger Graciela Avila at (928) 638-7941.
By summer's end, 50 national parks will offer Let's Move Outside Junior Ranger programs.
Young people can become Junior Rangers at more than 200 national parks nationwide.
Before heading out, families can look at www.letsmove.gov/outside for more information about activities and participating parks. This website hub will link families to the great outdoors and give tips and ideas on how to best plan and enjoy an active adventure. The National Park Service provides 84 million acres to explore, so there are many places and ways to move outside!
A Fact Sheet: Let's Move Outside Junior Ranger, can be found on the park's website at http://www.nps.gov/grca/parknews/newsreleases.htm.