Why NCLI 2010?

On the Petrified Forest Loop Trail

NPS Photo

Come join your child on a journey of discovery!

We have created this day to provide close, free, fun family-friendly activities to help you enjoy the benefits of nature with your children. Our goal is to help families build a tradition of spending time together outside, experiencing the wonder of nature – for their own health, preservation of the beauty of Colorado, and the future of our planet.

If you don't have a kids, find one… a sibling, a friend, any child in need!

Why get outside with us?
The first great admirers of the American outdoors were the continents' early inhabitants; they were intimately connected to the earth. The land was not simply their economic resource; for many Native Americans the earth was a scared mother to be respected and cared for as thanks for the gifts it provided them with. Now days most of our population is very urban, leaving many Americans and their children, disconnected from their natural environment. As a consequence of our urban high-tech lifestyle many people, especially children, are missing out on the many benefits that outdoor recreation can provide and among other things their health is suffering. We don't need to leave the cities lives behind; we merely need some balance in our lives.


"...I cannot imagine any individual disconnecting from nature without paying a price. We feel better physiologically as well as psychologically when we are in the out of doors. No less important is the politics of advocacy for preserving all things wild and natural. Without a new generation of nature lovers, who will vote to elect to public office the people and issues that represent these values? We can preach our love of nature all we want, but it's the laws and policies of the nation and world that bring real change and a chance to protect...life on Earth. Without passionate advocates working to expose children and adults to the remarkable joy only gained from being in nature, nature in our conscious minds will take a back seat to all things technological"
John Fielder,
Nature Photographer

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul."
John Muir,

"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit"
Edward Abbey

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
John Muir,

"Two modern machines – the television set and the computer – keep Americans idle for more than 22 hours a week outside of work...obesity is considered a national epidemic, with 60% of Americans overweight or obese. As a consequence, diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate. Heart disease in the United States continues to be a national crisis… It is the cause of 40% of deaths in the United States, and kills more people than the next three causes of death.
Jensen, Clayne, EdD and Guthrie, Steven, PhD. Outdoor Recreation in America. Champain, Illinois: Human Kinetics, 2006.

Junior Rangers being sworn in

NPS Photo

According to Lt. Governor Barbara O'Brien's Colorado Kids Initiative Report, there are many other health benefits for children to spend more time in nature, including academic ones. "Playing outside improves concentration, motor development, coordination, mental acuity, and mood," and "time outdoors also reduces attention deficit disorder (ADD) symptoms, lowers blood pressure, and alleviates stress and anxiety." Additionally, "spending time in the open air and learning outside increases students' ability to think creatively and improves problem-solving skills" and "students who play and learn in outdoor settings perform better on tests, have higher grade point averages (GPAs), and cause fewer classroom disruptions." Moreover, this generation will be the first to die younger than their parents.

The health of the economy is also at stake: According to Lt. Governor O'Brien, "spending time outside is more than just a part of Colorado's heritage and culture; it's directly connected to our economy. Outdoor recreation contributes between $10 - $15 billion annually to state and local coffers." "The state's unparalleled natural beauty provides for limitless outdoor experiences, which stimulates retail sales, fuels travel and tourism revenues, and influences property values. Colorado's 'active outdoor recreation industry' alone supports over 107,000 jobs statewide."

Lt. Governor Barbara O'Brien Convenes Stakeholders throughout Colorado to Connect More Kids to the Outdoors

Take It Outside: Author Richard Louv wants parents to rethink nature

Salazar touts the outdoors to urban kids on trip pushing conservation, recreation


Last updated: February 24, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 185
Florissant, CO 80816


(719) 748-3253

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