The U.S. Forest Service's top forester on the West Coast is the latest to join a growing list of officials taking the pledge to encourage California children to go outdoors. "You all represent the future," said Randy Moore, the regional forester for the Pacific Southwest Region, which includes all of California, as he signed the California Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights in September. "It is important for us to have you learn about the outdoors, and we want you to enjoy being outdoors."
The California Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights was created in 2007 in response to "concerns about youth detachment from outdoor activities, lack of physical exercise and increased health risks," according to the nonprofit California Roundtable on Recreation, Parks and Tourism, which developed the concept and continues to encourage its adoption today.
The bill encourages 10 things to do before a child is 14 years old:
1. Play in a safe place
2. Explore nature
3. Learn to swim
4. Go fishing
5. Follow a trail
6. Camp under the stars
7. Ride a bike
8. Go boating
9. Connect with the past
10. Plant a seed
The Pacific Southwest Region will now promote the Bill of Rights and its activities through a variety of ways, such as having a presence at the L.A. County Fair and holding events like campfire programs.
Others that have signed on to the Bill of Rights include San Bernardino County, the city of Glendale, and San Francisco State University. 19 other states have also adopted the concept.
The Bill of Rights was inspired by Richard Louv's book "Last Child Left In The Woods" and Ruth Coleman, the former director of California State Parks.