05/18/2011 05:14 pm ET Updated Jul 18, 2011

Make the Kids to Parks Day Pledge

Make the Kids to Parks PledgeToday, I launched my initiative to encourage kids to get outdoors by introducing a resolution to honor the inaugural National Kids to Parks Day on Saturday, May 21. This resolution officially begins my comprehensive summer campaign to get kids out to the parks throughout the state of Colorado and across the country.

I want to thank those of you who responded to my April 27 newsletter by submitting ideas to help shape my initiative to get kids more involved in our national parks. It should not come as a surprise that many Coloradans have already put their fingers on the problem and are working to find solutions. I was inspired by the diversity of ideas and the variety of programs that already exist in Colorado to get kids outdoors.

Here are a few of your ideas:

"The Colorado Division of Wildlife has a wonderful program that takes kids out in the field and teaches them about nature. Get the kids involved in these programs." - kherfurt, Evergreen

"The National Parks Junior Ranger Program is a wonderful, interactive learning experience for kids under 12 years of age. Our sons were so motivated to collect the Junior Ranger badges that we visited 40+ parks, monuments and historic sites." - braveskimom, Grand Junction

"National Parks could start noting which trails are good to take children on, and at what ages. Noting which trails are for kids promotes the idea that kids should be hiking and makes sure kids have fun on hikes and want to come back." - alchemistofmoriar

Click here to view more ideas, add your own and vote for your favorites.

Some of the best times I've spent in Colorado have been in the backcountry with my mom and siblings, and more recently, with my own kids. That is why I'm concerned to see today's kids spending more time browsing the Internet than exploring nature. Our parks can connect kids not just to our natural resources, but also to past events that have shaped our state and country's culture and history. My campaign to get kids to our parks aims to get them excited about being active and healthy outdoors, while inspiring the next generation of American stewards to enjoy and protect our nation's special places.

Colorado has some of the most spectacular national parks in the country and, with 300 days of sunshine, we have plenty of opportunities to enjoy them. Mark this National Kids to Parks Day by making the pledge to take your kids or a group of kids to a park, and I will send you periodic updates throughout the summer on great opportunities to get outdoors.

Mark Udall