By Ben Olson
Do you know what the best word in the English language is? Free!
The Idaho Panhandle National Forest is offering every fourth grader a free Christmas tree permit through the new White House initiative Every Kid in a Park. The nationwide initiative is a call to action to inspire every young person across the country to visit our national parks, forests, public lands and waters.
All fourth graders are eligible to receive a pass that allows free access to federal lands and waters across the country for a full year. In support of this initiative, the Forest Service will make available a free Christmas tree permit to every interested fourth-grader. Permits are available on a first-come, first served basis while supplies last.
The Every Kid in a Park initiative is an administration-wide effort among the National Park Service, Forest Service, Department of Education, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Services, Bureau of Reclamation, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Today, more than 80 percent of American families live in urban areas, and many lack easy access to safe outdoor spaces. At the same time, kids are spending more hours than ever in front of screens instead of outside. The Every Kid in a Park initiative encourages valuable opportunities to explore, learn and play in the spectacular places that belong to us all and aims to inspire stewardship of these places for future generations.
In order to obtain a pass or voucher to collect a free tree permit, fourth-graders should log in to https://everykidinapark.gov and follow the instructions to print out a paper voucher. Bring the printed voucher to a permit sale location, the closest being the Sandpoint Ranger District on 1602 Ontario St. in Sandpoint, to claim the free permit. The fourth-grader and an adult must present the voucher in person. One free tree permit is allowed per fourth-grader.
For more information, contact Jason Kirchner, Public Relations Officer with the USDA Forest Service at 208-765-7211