Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Visit U.S. national parks during fee-free week in April

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
If you love nature and the beauty of God-created landscapes, don’t let the week of April 19-27, 2014 go by without a visit to one of America’s national parks.  The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation have designated that time as National Park Week. To entice visitors even further (as if you needed enticement to enjoy any of these national treasures), there will be no entrance fees on Saturday, April 19 and Sunday, April 20. Yes, you can visit any of the more than 4,000 areas within the national park system free of charge.
Wrangell St. Elias is a true wilderness area
The theme for National Park Week this year is Go Wild. A perfect place to start—a park that exemplifies the theme better than any other--would be the country’s largest national park, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, which covers an astounding 13.2 million acres in Alaska.
 Bears and berries perfectly represent the Go Wild theme
for April 2014 National Park Week

Alaska too far away to visit this weekend? In addition to the 13 well-known attractions such as Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier, there are 20 National Natural Landmarks, 46 National Historic Landmarks, and more than 3,000 National Register of Historic Places. From diverse wildlife and iconic landscapes to vibrant culture and rich history, the National Park System has something for everyone.
Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
Also, this year the National Park Foundation has teamed with Disney, which is premiering the new Disneynature film “Bears” on Friday, April 18. If you see the film during opening week, Disneynature will make a donation to the National Park Foundation on your behalf to help protect wildlife and wild places in the park system.

Our national parks have been called America’s Best Idea, and if you’ve visited any of these extraordinary places, I’m sure you’ll agree. As a bonus, many will feature special programs for discovering history and exploring nature during National Park Week, so check online to see what’s offered at your nearest national park.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee
Whether you like to hike, learn about history, entertain the kids, join crowds of fellow sight-seers, or seek out peace and solitude, there’s a park experience to fit your needs. National parks belong to all of us, so take advantage of these special places during the fee-free week. Look online for the National Park Foundation’s free Owner’s Guide series for a plethora of ideas to help you plan your next adventure, either during National Park Week or any time throughout the year.
Glacier National Park in Montana
Do you have a favorite national park? Tell us which one and why you’d recommend it to readers.

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