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Mount Rainier National Park: Reaching Out to Camping Newbies


Free camping trips are being offered to Seattle-area families...but few have shown interest. NPS photo.

How many of you would jump at the chance to join rangers at Mount Rainier National Park on a three-day camping trek? And keep in mind, this offer comes with equipment, food, and rangers tossed in for free.

Surprisingly, few in the Seattle area are jumping on this offer. If more interest doesn't surface by April 22, Rainier officials just might cancel the trips, which are scheduled for July and August.

The learn-to-camp program, aimed at Seattle-area families with kids in elementary and middle school, is being supported by the National Park Service and the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department. It is open to all-comers with little or no camping experience, regardless of income level. The goal is to get kids hooked on nature.

To learn more about the "Youth and Families to Our Parks" program, contact Brad Carlquist at 206-220-4229.


I think that this is great for those of us that would like to go camping and can not afford it.
But, i have a feeling that if it was advertised more in the Seattle area there would be more intrest.
I have lived here 8 years and this is the first that I have heard of it.

I'm with you Anon, I live in the seattle area with a 3 year old, have subscribed to more park newsletters than I care for, read the P-I and Times online, and the first I heard of this program was today (once on this website and twice on Twitter) ... and two of the mentions were to say that it may be canceled!

This is news to me. My wife reads the local paper from "cover to cover" every day and has never mentioned it. Maybe Brad should advertise the program. He might get a bigger response.

It would be a shame to see such an outstanding program fail only due to a lack of public outreach. I was once a city kid myself. Camping in the parks was the highlight of my summers.

Owen Hoffman
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

Perhaps part of the poor response is because many people, especially low-income, may not be able to get three days off?

I have just spoken to Brad and he let me know that the reason this program has not beenheard of is becouse it is fairly new. but he is very glad of the response that he is getting now.
There are requirment for this program, I strongly sugest that if you are intrested that you call and get the scoop from Brad.

Are you "discriminating" against forever young (55+) no kids. We have raised our children and they are gone, there was no program like this back then.
we always camped as a family, and would love to go and explore Mt. Rainer with a ranger. let us know if we are welcome.

Free camping at Mount Rainier for city kids (The Seattle Times)

"To make sure families of limited means don't miss out, organizers have been recruiting at community centers in South Park and other low-income and diverse neighborhoods. But interest, they say, has been low."

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