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Contact: Julie Johndreau, 605-433-5242
BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, INTERIOR, S.D. —Badlands National Park is pleased to announce the release of its virtualWebRangers iHike. The Badlands iHike challenges people of all ages to get outdoors, get active, and get moving. The project supports the globalHealthy Parks, Healthy Peopleinitiative which aims to harness the power of public parks to support healthier lifestyles for all.
To participate in the program, hikers must record the number of real-life steps they take each day. When they sign into the site, participants enter their stats to see how far their steps would take them on the Saddle Pass, Castle, and Medicine Root Trails. Each virtual stop includes scenic photos from the trail and also presents information about the history and resources of Badlands. The iHike is a fun learning opportunity that opens hikers’ eyes to the beauty and variety of America’s public lands while encouraging healthy exercise habits.
“Since 2007, Badlands has demonstrated a commitment to the health and physical fitness of South Dakota school children with our Walk the Badlands classroom program,” said park superintendent Eric Brunnemann. “We’re excited to take the program online so that more kids, and kids-at-heart, can virtually come to the park, regardless of where they live.”
For children, regular exercise in nature is proven to improve physical and mental health. Outdoor activity helps kids maintain a healthy weight, boosts their immunity and bone health, and lowers stress. Let’s Move Outside, administered by the Department of Interior (DOI), was created to get kids and families to take advantage of America’s great outdoors in every city, town and community. Together, the DOI agencies oversee more than one-fifth of the nation’s land – including millions of acres of national forests, parks, and trails.
Children need at least 60 minutes of active and vigorous play each day to stay healthy, and one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to meet this goal is by playing outside. By linking parents to nearby parks, trails and waters – and providing tips and ideas – Let’s Move Outside can help families develop a more active lifestyle.
Badlands is one of five national park site to produce an iHike. Participants may also take virtual hikes in Acadia, Glacier, the National Mall, or along the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. WebRangers iHike is made possible through support from the National Park Foundation.