On September 20th, 2012, we will celebrate the expansion of our TRACK Trails program into the Greater Washington DC National Parks with the grand opening of a TRACK Trail on the National Mall and Memorial Park as part of the Healthy Parks, Healthy People DC project.
Since 2009, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks program has been installing a network of kid-friendly hiking trails, called TRACK Trails, on and in communities along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The initial success and replicability of the program has gained national attention and led to the program’s growth beyond the Blue Ridge Parkway corridor, creating a growing network of trails that span several states and land management agencies.
The grand opening of the National Mall TRACK Trail will be immediately followed up that weekend with the openings of two other DC region TRACK Trails at Fort DuPont (September 22nd) and Rock Creek Park (September 23rd), creating an instantaneously accessible network of three trails for children in the region to access. Over the following year, 10 more TRACK Trails will be installed in National Parks in the DC Region, including: Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, Harper’s Ferry, Manassas National Battlefield and the White House.
Jason Urroz, Director of Kids in Parks, said of the partnership, “We are excited to partner with the National Park Service’s National Capital Region Parks on their Healthy Parks, Healthy People DC project. The network of TRACK Trails we have formed in the region will continue to grow, giving kids and families from the area multiple options to get outdoors, get “unplugged” and get connected to the resources, special places and national history that make this region so wonderful.”
Phil Francis, Superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway, said, “When we partnered with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation several years ago to form the Kids in Parks program, we were hoping to create a sustainable program that would engage kids and their families from our local communities, as well as Parkway visitors, in outdoor activities that helped promote healthy activities and stewardship of the parkway. We are proud to see the Kids in Parks program expand into the national parks in our nation’s capital, and proud that we are connecting our trails in communities along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We are also excited to see the interest by other National Park Units and public land management agencies across the country in the Kids in Parks program."
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is honored to support such an innovative and important initiative as it expands beyond North Carolina to our nation’s capital”, says Jennifer MacDougall, senior program officer with BCBSNC Foundation. “We recognize the multiple benefits of the TRACK Trails that include increased physical activity, better connection to nature and a low cost fun activity for the whole family.”
Over the next few years, the National Park Service, and its partnering agencies like Kids in Parks, will continue to make progress on the fight against childhood obesity and nature deficit disorder by expanding upon the opportunities kids and families have to get outdoors and active in our parks and public lands; by continuing to move the “park prescriptions” program forward, encouraging pediatricians across the country to begin prescribing parks and outdoor activity to kids; and by continuing to install TRACK Trails in National Parks and other partnering land management agencies across the county.
The National Mall and Memorial Parks' TRACK Trail Grand Opening
Thursday, September 20th
Lincoln Memorial Plaza
near the corner of 23rd St NW and Henry Bacon Drive NW
Click here to view map.
Limited parking on Ohio Drive.
Use of public transportation is encouraged. http://www.wmata.com/
National Capital Parks - East TRACK Trail Grand Opening
at Fort Dupont National Park
Saturday, September 22nd
Click here to view map.
The National Park Service will hold its annual
Feet in the Street 10AM-4PM
For details click here.
Rock Creek National Park TRACK Trail Grand Opening
Sunday, September 23nd
Picnic Grove 2
4100 Broad Branch Rd NW
Click here for map.
The TRACK Trail Grand Opening will be a part of Rock Creek Park Day, a day celebrating the park's 122nd birthday. A guided walk alongside Rock Creek will follow the ribbon cutting ceremony.
For details of the day's events click here.