2015 Free Admission Days at National Parks

America’s Best Idea—the national parks—is even better when it’s free!

Two desert systems, the Mojave and the Colorado, abut within Joshua Tree, dividing California's southernmost national park into two arid ecosystems of profoundly contrasting appearance. The key to their differences is elevation.
Two desert systems, the Mojave and the Colorado, abut within Joshua Tree, dividing California’s southernmost national park into two arid ecosystems of profoundly contrasting appearance. The key to their differences is elevation. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are nine more reasons to enjoy national parks next year.

Circle the dates on the calendar and plan your trip—America’s 401 national parks will offer free admission on nine days in 2015, including several holidays.

The 2015 entrance fee-free days are:

January 19: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

February 14-16: Presidents Day weekend

April 18 & 19: National Park Week’s opening weekend

August 25: National Park Service’s 99th birthday

September 26: National Public Lands Day

November 11: Veterans Day

“Every day is a great day in a national park, and these entrance fee free days offer an extra incentive to visit one of these amazing places,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

“As we prepare to celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial in 2016, we are inviting all Americans to discover the beauty and history that lives in our national parks.”

A prominent feature of the 229-square-mile park is Zion Canyon, which is 15 miles long and up to half a mile deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A prominent feature of the 229-square-mile park is Zion Canyon, which is 15 miles long and up to half a mile deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A national park may be closer to home than you think. National Park Service sites are located in every state and in many major cities, including New York City which is home to ten national parks. They are places of recreation and inspiration and they are also powerful economic engines for local communities. Throughout the country, visitors to national parks spent $26.5 billion and supported almost 240,000 jobs in 2013.

Only 133 of our country’s 401 national parks usually charge an entrance fee.

If you’re planning a trip that includes multiple national parks, you might consider the $80 annual pass that provides entrance to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many other Federal lands-more than 2,000 in all. The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is offered free to all active duty military members and their dependents. Information on these and other pass options is available online.

Fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession, and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

Generally, 133 of the 401 National Park Service have entrance fees that range from $3 to $25. While entrance fees will be waived for the fee free days, amenity and user fees for things such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours will still be in effect.

Enormous cacti, silhouetted by the setting sun, for most of us the Giant Saguaro is the universal symbol of the American West. And yet, these majestic plants are only found in a small portion of the United States. Saguaro National Park protects some of the most impressive forests of these sub-tropical giants, on the edge of the modern City of Tucson.© Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Enormous cacti, silhouetted by the setting sun, for most of us the Giant Saguaro is the universal symbol of the American West. And yet, these majestic plants are only found in a small portion of the United States. Saguaro National Park protects some of the most impressive forests of these sub-tropical giants, on the edge of the modern City of Tucson.© Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other Federal land management agencies that will offer their own fee-free days in 2015 are:  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Forest Service. Please contact each for dates and details.

The National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Forest Service also participate in the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass programs. These passes provide access to more than 2,000 national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, grasslands, and other federal lands. Four passes are available:

Free annual pass to current military members and their dependents

Free lifetime pass for U.S. citizens with permanent disabilities

$10 lifetime senior pass for U.S. citizens aged 62 and over

$80 annual pass for the general public

Details

National Park Service

A highlight for most visitors to Capitol Reef is the scenic drive from the visitors center. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A highlight for most visitors to Capitol Reef is the scenic drive from the visitors center. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, the park service is proud to safeguard these special places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year.

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites in America’s 397 national parks.

Website: www.nps.gov

Worth Pondering…

National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.

—Wallace Stegner, 1983

Read More

2014 Fee Free Days at National Parks

Circle the dates on the calendar and plan your trip—America’s 401 national parks will offer free admission on nine days in 2014, including several holidays!

The 2014 entrance fee-free days are:

  • January 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • February 15-17: Presidents Day weekend
  • April 19-20: National Park Week’s opening weekend
  • August 25: National Park Service’s 98th birthday
  • September 27: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day
Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“America’s national parks welcome more than 280 million visitors a year. To say thanks for that support and invite every American to visit these treasures that they own, we are declaring nine days of free admission next year,” said National Park Service Director

Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Whether it’s that once-in-a-lifetime family trip to Yellowstone or taking a daily walk along the National Mall in Washington, D.C., or the moment at Central High School that your child suddenly understands what civil rights are all about, national parks offer places for unforgettable experiences.

“National parks not only protect and preserve the places we most value; they also add enormous economic value to nearby communities and the entire nation. Visitor spending represents a $30 billion annual benefit to the national economy and supports more than 250,000 jobs,” said Jarvis.

“Fee-free days are a great way to both thank those visitors and introduce parks to first-timers who can find a new place to call an old favorite.”

When you find yourself surrounded by twisted, spiky trees straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, you will have met the park’s namesake: Joshua tree. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
When you find yourself surrounded by twisted, spiky trees straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, you will have met the park’s namesake: Joshua tree. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With more than 84 million acres of spectacular scenery, 17,000 miles of trails, 5,000 miles of shoreline, 27,000 historic and prehistoric structures, and 100 million museum items, and an infinite number of authentic American stories to tell, national parks offer something for every taste.

Those in search of superlatives will find them in national parks including the country’s highest point (in Denali National Park) and lowest point (in Death Valley National Park), deepest lake (Crater Lake National Park), longest cave (Mammoth Cave National Park), tallest trees (Redwood National Park), and highest waterfall (Yosemite National Park).

Normally, 133 national parks charge an entrance fee that ranges from $3 to $25. The entrance fee waiver does not cover amenity or user fees for things like camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.

Other Federal land management agencies that will offer fee-free days in 2014 are: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Forest Service and the Army Corps of Engineers. Please contact each for details.

The National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Forest Service also participate in the America the Beautiful National Parks Pass and Federal Recreational Lands Pass programs.

These passes provide access to more than 2,000 national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, grasslands, and other federal lands. Four passes are available:

  • Free annual pass to current military members and their dependents
  • Free lifetime pass for people with permanent disabilities
  • $10 lifetime senior pass for those aged 62 and over
  • $80 annual pass for the general public.
Fruita Campground is located adjacent to the Fremont River (pictured above) in Capitol Reef National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Fruita Campground is located adjacent to the Fremont River (pictured above) in Capitol Reef National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Details

National Park Service

Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, the park service is proud to safeguard these special places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year.

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites in America’s 397 national parks.

Website: nps.gov

Worth Pondering…

National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.

—Wallace Stegner, 1983

Read More

Get To Know Your Parks during National Park Week

Each spring the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, invite everyone to celebrate National Park Week.

NPW_DENA_DiscoveryCamp_NPS-Nathan-Kostegian_520px_3This year, from April 20–28, YOU are invited to get to know your national parks.

All national park entrance fees will be waived from Monday, April 22 to Friday, April 26 to encourage citizens to enjoy unique outdoor experiences as part of the annual National Park Week supported by the National Park Foundation and National Park Service.

So, whether it is your first trip, or the latest of many memorable park experiences, there couldn’t be a better time to get out and explore.

All of America’s parks belong to YOU.

Take this opportunity to learn how you can take an active role in preserving these special places. Help pass along our country’s rich history and beautiful landscapes to the next generation.

Did you know…America’s national parks include more than:

  • 84 million acres of spectacular scenery, historic landmarks and cultural treasures
  • 17,000 miles of trails
  • 43,000 miles of shoreline
  • 27,000 historic and prehistoric structures
  • 100 million museum items
  • 12,000 campsites
  • 99 percent of counties in America have recreational facilities such as playgrounds and trails funded by the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund
Zion is home to 207 species of birds. Bird checklists are available at the visitor centers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Zion is home to 207 species of birds. Bird checklists are available at the visitor centers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Take part in an activity during National Park Week and hike, learn, share, and give back in the nation’s 401 national parks!

So, if you are looking for something fun and fantastic to do with family and friends, head out to America’s national parks where millions of stars light up the dark night sky, deer, and antelope (and a few other critters!) play on the wide open range, and history is an unbelievable experience, not an exam.

National Park Week is the perfect opportunity to introduce a young person to a national park because a park is the perfect place to get active and stay fit.

From hiking to biking to swimming, nature walks, kayaking, or bird watching, there are great outdoor activities in national parks for visitors of all ages. By introducing kids to these majestic places, we give the gift of learning a healthy lifestyle and help guarantee the future of parks for generations to come.

You can plan your visit by what you want to do, or where you want to go … or you can browse the event calendar and check out the special programs offered that week.

On April 20, National Junior Ranger Day, parks will invite young visitors to “explore, learn, protect” and be sworn in as Junior Rangers.

April 27 is Volunteer Day, so if you want to roll up your sleeves and pitch in with a project, look for a park where you can help out.

Also, don’t forget to check out www.nationalparkweek.org. There you can share your national park photos, videos, and tips. While you’re there, learn all about the ways you can help support your national parks all year round.

Get to know one of your national parks during National Park Week.

Details

National Park Service

Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks.

With the help of volunteers and park partners, the park service is proud to safeguard these special places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year.

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites in America’s 397 national parks.

Website: nps.gov

Worth Pondering…

National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.

—Wallace Stegner, 1983

Read More

More Free National Park Activities during Fee-Free Weekends

Like the National Park Service, concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resorts knows some of the best things in life are free.

Zion is home to 207 species of birds. Bird checklists are available at the visitor centers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Zion is home to 207 species of birds. Bird checklists are available at the visitor centers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Xanterra has offered 15 ideas for free national park activities on fee-free weekends and throughout the year, according to a news release.

Be a train spotter. Join the throngs of tourists who wave at passengers aboard Grand Canyon Railway when they arrive and depart the park.

Watch an otter outfox a fox. Part of the fun of wildlife watching in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park and other parks is discovering the personalities of the park’s permanent residents. Yellowstone river otters, for example, are cagey—and cute—and their clever ways ensure a steady population and a fascinating show for travelers lucky enough to spot one. One employee reported watching an otter tease a hungry fox by repeatedly diving into a river and popping up in a different place once the fox moved into position again. You could practically see the smirk on the otter’s face each time his mischievous moves foiled the fox.

Get high. Some hikers have called it one of the best short hikes in a national park. Though only five miles round trip, the hike to Angel’s Landing in Utah’s Zion National Park is a strenuous but breathtakingly beautiful hike. The view from the top of Angel’s Landing is worth the 21 steep switchbacks—called “Walter’s Wiggles”—and the final white-knuckle half mile. This is a hike for experienced trekkers who have no fear of heights.

Go low. At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater Basin in California’s Death Valley National Park is one of the lowest places in the world. The vast salt flats are typically bone-dry but can turn into a ready-made lake after a big rainstorm. Look up at a mountainside sign marking sea level posted well above the Badwater Basin viewpoint.

Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wish on a star. Stargazing is a simple, free, safe, and rejuvenating activity for the whole family. Because there is already minimal exterior lighting surrounding the lodges in most national parks, guests need only walk a few steps away to observe the night sky in relative quiet. Death Valley National Park in particular is known for its dark skies initiatives. The National Park Service also offers a variety of free stargazing programs in Yellowstone.

Walk in the footsteps of presidents. Six presidents—and Three Stooges—have stayed at Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn. It was built for $140,000 in 1904 and is one of the most famous buildings in any national park. A Xanterra historian tells travelers about the inn’s colorful history during free walking tours offered several times a day throughout the summer.

Make a snowball in June. In Oregon’s remote Crater Lake National Park, winter weather appears from October through June, when the very last of the snow melts. Snow in July isn’t uncommon either. Historic Crater Lake Lodge is open mid-May through mid-October, and guests are advised to be prepared for any kind of weather.

Soak. There are two ways to get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon—by foot or by mule—and in the warm months both of them can be sweaty experiences. The Bright Angel Creek running alongside Xanterra’s Phantom Ranch on the floor of the Canyon offers a welcome, chilly, and free way to cool off. On any afternoon, you’ll see campers, hikers and mule-riders soaking on rocks and enjoying the cool creek water while staring up at the soaring canyon walls.

Details

Xanterra Parks & Resorts
Xanterra operates lodges, restaurants, gift shops, tours and activities in Yellowstone, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Zion, Crater Lake, Rocky Mountain, and Petrified Forest National Parks and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Xanterra also operates Grand Canyon Railway, which provides daily train trips to the Grand Canyon.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts are committed to the preservation and protection of the environment for many years.

The Island in the Sky region of Canyonlands is a wide high plateau with commanding views across many miles of deep canyons in all directions. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Island in the Sky region of Canyonlands is a wide high plateau with commanding views across many miles of deep canyons in all directions. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Through its environmental program, “Ecologix,” Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been recognized repeatedly for environmental leadership in the hospitality industry and is the recipient of many honors, including major awards from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Travel Industry Association of America, American Hotel and Lodging Association, National Parks Conservation Association, Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Colorado Department of Public Health, State of Arizona, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, and Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

Address: 6312 South Fiddlers Green Circle, Suite 600N, Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111

Phone: (303) 600-3400

Website: xanterra.com

Please Note: This is part 1 of a 2-part series on 15 ideas for free national park activities on fee-free weekends and throughout the year

Part 1: Free National Park Experiences during Fee-Free Weekends

Worth Pondering…

There is adventure in any trip; it’s up to us to seek it out.

—Jamie Francis

Read More

Free National Park Experiences during Fee-Free Weekends

Like the National Park Service, concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resorts knows some of the best things in life are free.

Encompassing over 1.2 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based & backcountry recreation. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Encompassing over 1.2 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based & backcountry recreation. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Xanterra has offered 15 ideas for free national park activities on fee-free weekends and throughout the year, according to a news release.

The National Park Service is offering five opportunities in 2013 to enjoy national parks without paying an entrance fee. Those dates are January 21, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; April 22-26, National Park Week; August 25, National Park Service Birthday; September 28, National Public Lands Day; and November 9-11, Veterans Day Weekend.

“Everyone loves a bargain, and national parks are among the bargains around,” said Betsy O’Rourke, vice president of sales and marketing for Xanterra.

“Watching Old Faithful erupt, seeing the sun rise over the Grand Canyon…these are the kinds of experiences that travelers will remember for a lifetime. And you can’t put a price tag on memories.”

“Whether it is an activity, a restaurant meal, gift shop purchase, or hotel room, travelers are seeking value as well as a memorable vacation experience, and our national parks offer both,” said O’Rourke.

Xanterra operates lodges, restaurants, gift shops, tours and activities in Yellowstone, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Zion, Crater Lake, Rocky Mountain, and Petrified Forest National Parks and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Xanterra also operates Grand Canyon Railway, which provides daily train trips to the Grand Canyon.

Late afternoon light enhance the beauty of Joshua Tree. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Late afternoon light enhance the beauty of Joshua Tree. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Xanterra says many visitors plan a variety of free experiences as well as select a few interpretive experiences to round out a vacation.

“It is great to experience a park on your own and in your own way, but a guided tour is one of the best ways to learn about the history, geology and wildlife of any national park,” said O’Rourke.

Here is the list of 15 ideas for free national park activities on fee-free weekends and throughout the year, provided by Xanterra:

Skate. Yellowstone National Park’s two winter-season lodges—Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel—feature free outdoor ice-skating rinks. Guests can borrow skates at no cost. Yellowstone’s two winter-season lodges opened for the season in mid-December and will close again in early March. Lodges begin reopening for the summer season in early May.

Discover borax. Xanterra’s Borax Museum at the Ranch at Furnace Creek in California’s Death Valley National Park shows how a simple chemical was largely responsible for the fortunes and misfortunes of many a miner, and it was largely responsible for bringing tourism to this California desert. Many ancient mining tools, antique stagecoaches and even a steam locomotive are on display.

Write a letter and post it. Old fashioned writing desks in Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Old Faithful Inn draw a surprising number of inspired guests, who ditch their devices in favor of stationery and post cards, pens, and stamps.

Compare china patterns. The Bright Angel History Room in Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Lodge includes displays of early Fred Harvey Company china patterns. Harvey was the restaurateur who is credited for bringing tourism to the Grand Canyon and throughout the West by offering excellent food at a good value in restaurants at stops along the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad route.

Watch American Indian dancers. An American Indian troupe performs authentic tribal dances outside the historic Hopi House gift shop in the Grand Canyon during the summer season. Schedules are posted in lodges and other buildings throughout the park.

A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hitch a ride. The National Park Service offers free shuttles throughout Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks. The environmentally friendly vehicles transfer visitors to specific points throughout each park.

Listen to music. Yellowstone guests can experience free live music on summer evenings in the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, and the Old Faithful Inn. The string quartet concert on many summer nights in the sunroom of Lake Yellowstone Hotel is so popular that in-the-know visitors arrive early for the seats with the best views of the sun setting over the lake. The pianist in the Mammoth Hotel is happy to accommodate requests—and he knows nearly all of them by heart.

Please Note: This is part 1 of a 2-part series on 15 ideas for free national park activities on fee-free weekends and throughout the year

Part 2: More Free National Park Activities during Fee-Free Weekends

Worth Pondering…

Stuff your eyes with wonder…live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.

—Ray Bradbury

Read More

2013 Fee Free Days at National Parks & Federal Lands

From sea to shining sea, the United States has some of the most breath taking national parks and scenic wonderlands. Every national park has very important significance embedded into the landscape and has been passed down for generations now and ones to come.

Whether you prefer to hike Zion (Utah), photograph the wonders of Arches (Utah), wander in the paths of the Anasazi at Aztec Ruins (New Mexico), explore the desert scenery and granite monoliths of Joshua Tree (California), or tour an ancient cave dwelling at Mesa Verde (Colorado) moving outside is good for you and offers a chance to explore these special places.

A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To encourage Americans to explore America’s natural beauty, rich history, and culture, Secretary of the Department of Interior Ken Salazar announced that more than 2,000 national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and other federal lands will waive admission fees on 13 days in 2013.

“Our national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and other public lands offer every American a place to enjoy outdoor recreation, learn about our nation’s history and culture, and restore our souls and spirits by connecting with the natural beauty and wildness of our land,” Salazar said in a news release.

“By providing free admission, we are putting out an invitation to all Americans to visit and enjoy these extraordinary treasures that belong to all our people.”

Tourism and outdoor recreation are powerful economic engines in communities across the country.

Encompassing over 1.2 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based & backcountry recreation. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Encompassing over 1.2 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based & backcountry recreation. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Recreation on federal lands provided 440,000 jobs and contributed $55 billion to the economy in 2009. Each year, over 280 million national park visitors pump $31 billion into local economies, supporting 258,000 jobs.

“We have a fantastic network of public lands that provides world class recreational opportunities, showcases our nation’s rich and diverse history, and features some of the most incredible scenery around,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

“The fee-free days will give both first time and repeat visitors a good reason to spend time exploring these remarkable places.”

Mark your calendar for these fee-free days in 2012:

January 21: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (participating agencies: National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service)

April 22-26: National Park Week (participating agency: National Park Service)

June 8: Great Outdoors Day (participating agency: U.S. Forest Service)

August 25: National Parks Service Birthday (participating agency: National Park Service)

September 28: National Public Lands Day (participating agencies: National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service)

October 13: National Wildlife Refuge Day (participating agency: Fish & Wildlife Service)

November 9-11: Veterans Day Weekend (participating agencies: National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service)

Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Entry fees are actually pretty reasonable. According to the NPS website 265 of the 397 national parks NEVER charge an entrance fee.

Details

National Park Service

Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, the park service is proud to safeguard these special places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year.

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites in America’s 397 national parks.

Website: nps.gov

Worth Pondering…

National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.

—Wallace Stegner, 1983

Read More