|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – August 2009
From Boulder to Juneau to Bozeman, see which cities made the cut for the best place to raise an outdoor kid, and why.
Three cities and two states with get-the-kids-out programs worth joining–or emulating
Program Each year, the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program enables 2,000-plus students to perform field research along the Rio Grande with University of New Mexico biologists.
Program The Urban Ecology Institute teaches 15,000 inner-city students about the environment and green jobs at riverfront parks.
Prior Lake, MN
Program Jeffers Pond Elementary wraps environmental topics into all core subject areas, thanks to an on-site naturalist and wetlands.
Minnesota and Wisconsin
Program Through the School Forests initiative, more than 450 student bodies manage outdoor "classrooms" in nearby woodlands and marshes, learning about sustainability and Leave No Trace.
The stats and assumptions behind our rankings
To determine which U.S. cities offer the most fertile soil for raising outdoor kids, we crunched 38 different metrics, from the distance to the nearest national park to the density of Boy's Life subscribers. We looked at climate stats, outdoor education figures, and unemployment and obesity rates. We also polled BACKPACKER readers and editors–because you can't reduce everything to numbers. For a full list of metrics and sources, go to backpacker.com/outdoorkids.