It all began with a vision in 2008 to improve the health of children and the health of parks by making existing trails more attractive and fun for novice users. At that time, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, National Park Service and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation joined together to formally link the health of children to the health of parks by creating a strong network of trails and partners in the communities on and along the Blue Ridge Parkway, establishing Kids in Parks.
The regional program was so successful that parks across the country rapidly embraced Kids in Parks TRACK Trails. Today, there are more than 250 TRACK Trails in 12 states, Washington DC, and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nations.
As one of the only health related nature programs in the country with data demonstrating results, the program has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, recognized by the White House with a “Let’s Move! Champion of Change” award, and reviewed favorably as a practice-tested intervention by the Center for Training and Research Translation — a program funded by the Center for Disease Control. After only a few years, the Kids in Parks program is now supported by a strong partnership of private and public groups investing together for the health of our parks and our children.