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Mount Rainier National Park: Reaching Out to Camping Newbies


Free camping trips are being offered to Seattle-area families...but few have shown interest. NPS photo.

How many of you would jump at the chance to join rangers at Mount Rainier National Park on a three-day camping trek? And keep in mind, this offer comes with equipment, food, and rangers tossed in for free.

Surprisingly, few in the Seattle area are jumping on this offer. If more interest doesn't surface by April 22, Rainier officials just might cancel the trips, which are scheduled for July and August.

The learn-to-camp program, aimed at Seattle-area families with kids in elementary and middle school, is being supported by the National Park Service and the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department. It is open to all-comers with little or no camping experience, regardless of income level. The goal is to get kids hooked on nature.

To learn more about the "Youth and Families to Our Parks" program, contact Brad Carlquist at 206-220-4229.


For a similar opportunity in Oregon, check out Oregon Parks and Recreation Department's 'Let's Go Camping' program, with a few openings remaining for 2010.

Hello All,

Does anyone know if this will be happening agian this year (2010) ?

Anybody could share their experience from last year ?


April 21st, 2009
The Connecting Youth and Families to Our Parks program has filled. We have had over 300 families respond to get into this program, far more than we can serve. This has been a huge response with most of it coming shortly after and during the day it was in the Seattle Times newspaper came out on April 9th. (Note we did advertise for months before but targeted sectors within the Seattle Community for several weeks and gave presentations for several weeks to audiences in these areas). We are not sure we will run the program again next year but we hope to. Families which did not get into this program are encouraged to go outside, check out your local parks, regional parks, and national parks and learn from staff and through other ways of the wonders of your natural and cultural resources. The National Parks in our area offer programs for youth and families , they may not be like this but they are offen available to those who find out about them. Go to and click on the local parks you will find a wealth of information there about your national parks. There are also organizations such as Sierra Club, Seattle Mountaineers and REI which offer trips, information and insight on how to enjoy our great outdoors. Brad - Park Ranger

Is it open to ppl who don't have kids?? I am very interested in this activity, however, don't have a kiddo yet. -- M.

we are very interested...depending on the dates, we would love to come!!! -JB

I just heard about this tonight from the "cool moms" webmail thread. I would love to take my son and since I was laid off from my job of 18 years -camping is all we can afford this summer for a getaway. I think he would love to camp at Camp Long which is in our neighborhood! super idea!

I lived in Bothell, WA as a child and could actually see Mt. Rainier from my front yard. I loved it up there! Happiest years of my whole childhood! We moved a lot and I now live in the hot Central Valley of California. If I still lived near Seattle, I would most certainly take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. My kids are grown now, but I could take my grandkids!

I would love to know more detail about it. Our family likes all the outdoor activities, but doesn't have experience about camping at all. We usually go day trip or stay in the hotel overnight.

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