DES MOINES, Iowa — While at Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt signed an order that waives entrance fees to national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands and waters managed by the Department of the Interior for fifth grade students and their families from now until Aug. 31, 2021.

This ensures that American fifth grade students who may have been unable to make full use of the Every Kid Outdoors Annual 4th Grade Pass during the 2019-2020 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have free access to the federal lands during this academic year.

Bernhardt said in a press release, “Programming was limited at times for last year’s fourth graders through the Every Kid Outdoors program … We hope these kids and their families take advantage of the incredible physical and mental benefits of getting outside and visiting a park, refuge or campground near them.”

Nearly all units and locations are currently accessible with many having restored services for the public to enjoy following proper public health and safety guidelines.

Families and students can download their fifth grade passes online at

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