of young National Park visitors are low-income.
Give Kids a Chance
First National Park Campaign
Help a kid visit their first National Park
Visiting a National Park is a life-changing experience. The chance for children to connect with nature, explore spectacular landscapes, and learn about environmental science is crucial for building a more sustainable future.
Yet rising costs on public lands is creating severe inequities in who can afford to visit them.
Our public lands have a serious diversity problem
Public lands are open for everybody, so why are some groups underrepresented? Despite free and universal accessibility being the original intention of National Parks, rising costs have widened the gap among those who have the privelage to visit them. Over 1/3 of National Park visitors make $100,000 per year or more. We ask for your help in sponsoring field trip opportunities for students to visit the great outdoors.
1 in 5
National Park visitors is a person of color.
Your gift will go a long way.
The Right to Explore SPC promotes legislative change, therefore donations are not tax-deductible.
"In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks"
Increase in National Park fees in the last 5 years
SPONSOR 1,000 KIDS
INVITE 50 SCHOOLS
VISIT 100 NATIONAL PARKS
The Right to Explore
is a Social Purpose Corporation with the express purpose of fighting for your rights on public lands. Costs to access and camp on public lands have outpaced inflation by 200%, leaving many visitors behind. A single weekend of camping in a National Park can cost as much as $150, not including transportation, food, or camping gear.
Schools that may otherwise never have had the chance embark on field trips to National Park sites. Kids get a chance to explore the beauty of America's National Parks. Students who take educational field trips in their youth grow to be more successful, happier, smarter, and healthier.
Benefits of Educational Field Trips
higher high school graduation rate
higher annual income
better grades in middle school and high school
higher college graduation rate
Where your donations go
The Right to Explore is dedicated to making the most of every donation to this campaign. We keep our operating costs at a minimum to ensure that children in need receive the overwhelming benefit of every dollar spent.
Using the list of schools you nominate, our team studies the finances and student body of every district to find where money is needed most.
School curriculums that are heavily focused on environmental science may already have explored the avenues we hope to promote among today's youth.
Donations made out to schools will be specifically entrusted as funding for field trips to National Park sites. Only schools with room in their schedules can be considered.
Low-Income students are significantly less likely to be able to visit a National Park in their lifetimes. Low-income schools are less likely to afford field trips for elementary students.
Partner schools will explore options for field trips and determine the overall associated costs. In combination with state funding, boosters, and PTO fundraisers, The Right to Explore will fill the gap in funding required to fulfill the field trip budget. The amount each school district receives will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Overall associated costs will vary depending on factors like location, number of students, and time spent in the parks.
We are facing a crisis of outdoor recreation costs.
In less than 5 years, we have seen costs increase by 40% in many of our public parks and natural spaces. At this accelerated rate, it won't be long before fewer and fewer Americans can afford to visit our outdoor spaces. Outdoor recreation is becoming a luxury instead of a right. What problems does this cause? With increasing costs comes decreased diversity. A 2011 survey of diversity in National Parks found that "only 1 in 5 visitors was non-white," and "less than 2% of visitors were African Americans." This statistic mirrored a 2000 survey despite a 6% minority growth in the United States over the same 11 year period.
The contribution to the nation's economy every year by the National Park system.
The portion of the National Park economy that comes from recreation fees.
The same 2011 survey noted that "69% of Americans with household incomes of over $150,000 said they visited one or more national parks in the past two years, compared with only 22% of Americans with household incomes of less than $10,000." The National Park Service has conceded that there are significant barriers to entry for diverse groups, yet has only increased these barriers since conducting the survey. It is unfair to leave Americans behind. Every American deserves the right to explore their public lands as much as any other.