We have begun another school year and if your child is in fourth grade, your kid can get into all federal lands completely free of charge.

This school year is the second year of the 'Every Kid in a Park Program' which was launched at the beginning of the 2015 school year by the Obama administration.

The way it works is simple. If your child is entering fourth grade this year, that child along with three adults can get into all federal parks in the entire country for free for a full year.

The pass is good for a fourth grader up until the next academic year. Passes obtained now expire on August 31, 2017. The expiration date is not flexible. Even if your fourth grader obtains the pass in April of 2017, it will still expire on August 31, 2017. It is valid for a school year and the following summer. Students cannot transfer passes to their friends. They need to obtain their own pass but it is easy and free.

Here's what you need to do. Log on to EveryKidInAPark.Gov and follow the steps. Essentially your fourth grader will need to participate in some educational activities on the website and upon completion of those activities, the child will receive his free pass which you can print at home.

Then bring that paper pass with you to any federal park and the fourth grader along with all children under 16 and up to three adults can get into the park completely free. Just show it upon entrance.

At some parks, you can actually trade in your paper pass and in exchange they will give you a plastic waterproof pass which makes for a cool keepsake for the child.

Here are a list of the parks in North Dakota that have plastic passes available in exchange for your paper pass:

  • Dakota Prairie Grasslands - Bismarck
  • Dakota Prairie Grasslands - Watford City
  • Dakota Prairie Grasslands - Dickinson
  • Dakota Prairie Grasslands - Lisbon
  • Devils Lake Wetland
  • Garrison Project
  • Lake Ashtabula Recreation Area
  • Oahe Project
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park (both the North & South units)

Don't forget to bring your pass! You can only get in for free with the pass. Even proving your child is a fourth grader won't do the trick. That piece of paper is your golden ticket. The program is only eligible to fourth graders.

If your child just went started fifth grade and you are finding out about this program for the first time, you're out of luck. If your child is in third grade, he/she will be able to get his/her pass next year.

[Every Kid in a Park]