Last updated: 11:50 AM ET, Wed April 29 2015

National Park Foundation, Disney Announce 3-Year Collaboration

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | April 29, 2015

National Park Foundation, Disney Announce 3-Year Collaboration

PHOTO: Grand Teton National Park. (ThinkStock)

Disney and the National Park Foundation have teamed up, announcing a three-year partnership with the goal of getting 500,000 kids into the U.S.'s national parks by 2017.

As part of the collaboration, Disney will support the recently launched "Find Your Park" campaign and will remain the lead sponsor of the Foundation's Open OutDoors for Kids program.

The latter program builds off of the Every Kid in a Park initiative introduced by President Obama earlier this year. The initiative, which will grant free park access for fourth grade students and their family during the upcoming school year, is aimed at eliminating obstacles that prevent national park visitation among the nation's young people.

"Our national parks provide transformative, life-changing experiences that everyone deserves to have," said National Park Foundation interim president Dan Wenk in a statement. "Thanks to Disney's continued support, already more than 100,000 kids have had the opportunity to explore these treasured places, many for the first time. 

Wenk went on to add that the Foundation is "grateful for Disney's commitment to engaging the next generation of park stewards."

There are more than 400 national parks across the country, but aging infrastructure, low visitation and a lack of financial support have put their future in doubt. 

Therefore, this spring's partnership between the National Park Foundation and Disney is a timely one. 

"The more kids are exposed to the great outdoors, the more they appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature," said Disney's vice president of Community Engagement and Strategic Philanthropy Kevin Callahan in a statement. 

"Disney congratulates the National Park Service for opening the outdoors to kids and families for nearly 100 years," he added. "We are proud to work with National Park Foundation to make even more park experiences possible, inspiring lifelong conservation values for generations to come."

The National Park Service will celebrate its centennial anniversary next year. 

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