New NC Trails Funded for Kids in Parks
Kids in Parks (KIP), a signature program of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, has been awarded $921,000 from the Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina Foundation to continue its work helping kids and families reconnect with nature through TRACK Trails.
Over the next three years, the grant will be used to expand the network of trail adventures throughout North Carolina, with a goal of designating at least one trail in every county. Kids in Parks will also develop an app for mobile devices to guide trekkers on the hiking, canoeing, disc golf, and soon-to-open biking paths.
“We are fortunate in North Carolina to have so many accessible, beautiful, and diverse places to be active,” said Jennifer MacDougall, Healthy Living Senior Program Officer with BCBSNC Foundation. “One of the missing elements has been a replicable and successful way to connect families and youth to these places and make physical activity a fun and regular part of their lives. Kids in Parks makes the connection between people and parks, which is critical both to the health of our people and the health of our parks long term.”
KIP Director Jason Urroz said BCBSNC Foundation’s “forward-thinking mindset toward childhood obesity prevention, and the other ailments associated with living non-active lifestyles, has allowed the Kids in Parks program to positively affect the lives of thousands.”
As the program expands, the ease of the hikes and educational materials will continue to provide a positive introduction to outdoor activities, including hiking, canoeing, and disc golf. TRACKers can log their adventures at www.kidsinparks.com to earn prizes and read trail profiles to plan their next adventure.