Families with 4th graders from across the western United States will meet in Grand Teton National Park for the first-ever Great Outdoors Western Campout and enjoy a high dose of healthy, active outdoor fun. Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, who also chairs the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) – in cooperation with the Great Outdoors Month® Partnership – will host the families June 10-15 in and around Jackson, Wyoming. The event will celebrate Great Outdoors Month® and the National Park Service Centennial, as well as coincide with the WGA summer meeting, where the social and economic impact of outdoor recreation will be a major topic.
Governor Mead has invited his 18 fellow western governors along with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon – with whom he shares the 2015 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award – to each select a family from their state to take part in this historic event. Camping families will have the opportunity to use their 4th grader’s Every Kid in a Park free national pass. The pass – now available annually for each of the nation’s 4 million+ 4th graders – provides a year’s worth of free access to all national parks and federal recreation sites.
Home base will be Colter Bay Village in Grand Teton National Park, where families will stay in “tent cabins” next to beautiful Jackson Lake. Participants will enjoy hiking and rafting, fishing and boating, mountain biking and more in the world-class parks and forests just a short drive from Jackson, including Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest and more.
Each evening will feature outdoor dinners with chefs from various national park concessioners, special programs and other fun events led by partners like the National Park Service and the National Weather Service. An outdoor “Coleman Fun Zone” will be an onsite classroom for outdoor skills. It will also host a “Kids Campout” for 4th graders and their siblings on one night of the event. Families will be supported by technical experts and interact with “mentors” skilled in the outdoors. Each family will report back to media in their home state about all the fun they are having and will highlight opportunities for healthy, active outdoor fun in their home states. Governor Mead also invited his fellow governors to bring along their own families to join in on the fun. Read an example of Governor Mead’s invitation here.
Governor Mead, a passionate advocate for outdoor recreation, recently wrote, “June is Great Outdoors Month – celebrating our parks, forests, rivers, trails and all amazing outdoor places. Americans spend $650 billion on outdoor recreational activities each year. I recognize, as do other Governors, the benefits of outdoor recreation on our economy, physical and mental health, education, and developing and sharing our values and culture.”
Great Outdoors Month® Partnership spokesman Derrick Crandall says that the Campout will showcase the diversity of outdoor fun available across the nation made possible by recreation businesses and public agencies managing nearly one-third of the nation. “We plan to help our camping families understand the many largely hidden gems that complement well-known parks like Grand Teton. We’ll help them – and through our media coverage, the public – understand that learning how to enjoy the outdoors safely is growing easier because of the efforts of state park agencies and others. A trip to a great outdoors place can include picking up skills to be a good photographer, or to be able to kayak and paddleboard regularly for physical fitness, or to gain information which will be directly beneficial to upcoming academic classes,” Crandall said.
Each of the 4th graders will receive a souvenir Every Kid in a Park backpack which will include National Park Service Centennial stamps, a Centennial coin and other recreation equipment and offers.
The Campout will kick off with an opening celebration at the magnificent National Museum of Wildlife Art. Western Governors and senior officials of key federal agencies are expected to join the camping families and other special guests for the launch of this exciting event. Proclamations of Great Outdoors Month® by the President and all 50 Governors will be on display, as well as information about some twenty Governor’s Campouts that will be hosted during the month. In fact, Great Outdoors Month® 2016 is expected to have more than 15,000 events and programs ranging from National Trails Day® to National Boating and Fishing Week, National Get Outdoors Day and the Great American Campout.
Crandall noted that the Campout will draw together a remarkable group of public and private recreation community leaders committed to continuation of outdoor fun as a central component of American lives. These leaders will meet on Monday, June 13, to discuss National Park Campgrounds of Tomorrow and also meet on Monday evening with camping family parents to discuss steps which would increase the awareness and attraction of time in the Great Outdoors to a US population which is growing more urban, more diverse and with more leisure choices than ever before.
The Great Outdoors Western Campout is possible because of the support of a growing number of public, corporate and nonprofit partners including:
American Recreation Coalition
The Coleman Company
The Corps Network
Grand Teton Lodge Company
Guest Services Inc.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
National Association of State Park Directors
National Marine Manufacturers Association
National Park Hospitality Association
National Park Service
National Wildlife Federation
Office of the Governor, State of Wyoming
Recreation Vehicle Industry Association
Snow King Mountain Resort
The Student Conservation Association
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service
Wyoming State Parks
Wyoming Office of Tourism
Xanterra Parks and Resorts