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PORTER, Indiana: We dare you to try to keep up with the Junior Rangers at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore! It’s fun and healthy to play in the parks and now National Park Junior Rangers get an extra reward for movin’ it outside.
The national lakeshore is one of just 20 national parks kicking off the Let’s Move Outside Junior Ranger program. Let’s Move Outside, led by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, provides tools and information to parents to make it easy to enjoy the outdoors and be active and healthy. It is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s nationwide campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is the closest national park to Chicago and the 12 million residents of the metropolitan area.
“Young people inspire us; we want to help them be healthy and curious for life. It starts with family fun. We want to help parents learn the skills they need to enjoy the outdoors with their kids,” National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said.
Young people who complete at least one physical activity in pursuit of their Junior Ranger badge receive a special sticker that designates them as a Let’s Move Outside Junior Ranger. The activities range from adventures like hiking with a ranger to body surfing and canoeing.
“Starting July 1, the national lakeshore’s Let’s Move Outside Junior Ranger program offers kids and parents the chance to hike any of our 45 miles of trails, climb the north slope of Mount Baldy, or enjoy water activities like swimming at West Beach or kayaking on the new Lake Michigan Trail. These are not only great exercise, but also incredibly fun ways to see and learn about the park,” Superintendent Constantine Dillon said.
Before heading out, families can look at www.letsmove.gov/outside for more information about activities and participating parks. This website hub will link families to the great outdoors and give tips and ideas on how to best plan and enjoy an active adventure. The National Park Service provides 84 million acres to explore, so there are many places and ways to move outside!
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of 392 units of the National Park System ranging from Yellowstone to the Statue of Liberty. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore includes 15 miles of the southern shore of Lake Michigan and 15,000 acres of woods, marsh, and prairies in the northwest corner of Indiana. More than 2 million visitors come to this national park each year. More information can be found at www.nps.gov/INDU.