Nightly News | May 26, 2012
>>> thousands of people will spend this holiday weekend taking in the history and beauty of america's national parks , but now, the parks find themselves competing for the business of younger americans. the average age of visitors is climbing along with the future of these national treasures.
>> hi there, welcome to rocky mountain national park .
>> reporter: in the mountains of colorado, park rangers are seeing more than green this spring. they're also noticing a little more gray. the average visit or is getting older. cyclist john o'malley has enjoyed the trails for almost half a century.
>> you do get close to nature.
>> reporter: apparently, that love of nature isn't what it used to be. in 1996 , almost a third of vis tors were in their 20s and that number has dropped. rocky mountain national park , the average age of visitors has risen.
>> i think that a lot of distractions right now for young people .
>> reporter: overall attendance at national parks has dropped only slightly, but fewer young visitors.
>> if we do not do a better job of inviting young people and the funding to do that, the parks will become less relevant.
>> reporter: so, the park service is mounting a campaign to attract children.
>> it's really cool.
>> reporter: like this school group just outside of washington, d.c.
>> they get excited. they discover things. for them to know that not only they can come back, but they own this place. this is their park.
>> reporter: back in colorado, also fighting the trend. driving their kids and grand kids all the way from ohio.
>> it rejuvenates you.
>> reporter: the goal, to leave their computers behind.
>> can't capture it on a picture. you have to be there to see it.
>> reporter: and nurture their love of nature for a lifetime.