Friday, April 15, 2016

Fee-free days at U.S. national parks

Gorgeous reflections in Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park
I’ve written many times about our country’s Best Idea, the creation of national parks, and the free days that are offered several times a year. There’s no better time than now to choose your favorite, closest, or a never-visited park and discover what makes it unique.
Colorful rock formations in Badlands National Park in South Dakota
The National Park Service (NPS) celebrateed 100 years of protecting and preserving the nation’s parks and monuments during 2016. During 2017 National Park Week, April 15-23, you can  take advantage of fee-free entrance to all parks that usually charge a fee.

Each of the 410 national parks, monuments, seashores, etc. is a thread in the tapestry that tells the story of our country—its beautiful landscapes, diverse culture, and rich heritage. Throughout the year, and especially during National Park Week, the NPS and National Park Foundation invite everyone to discover and share their unique connections to our public lands.
Thermal pools in Yellowstone National Park

On Saturday, April 22, park-goers can join a special volunteer Earth Day project. And on Sunday, April 23, visitors can get out and get active with a ranger-led program on "Park Rx Day." Park Rx is a community health initiative where medical doctors “prescribe” time in parks to promote wellness and help prevent and treat chronic disease.

Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park

“With free admission to parks all week, National Park Week is the perfect opportunity to check out a new location, revisit one of your favorite parks, and perhaps invite a friend who has never visited a park before to join you,” says Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. “These treasured places are vital and relevant to people from all backgrounds from all over the country,” he adds.
Impossibly blue Crater Lake National Park in Oregon
While you're at one of the national parks consider purchasing a National Park Pass. It's a bargain , especially for families, service personnel, or seniors that can save users a lot of money over the years.

Steam fissure in Volcanoes National Park,
Big Island of Hawaii

National parks are perfect destinations for family getaways. If you live near a national park, plan a day trip—or stay a couple of days if your chosen park is further away. Either way, you’ll enjoy recreational opportunities, learn local history, bask in outstanding natural scenery, and have wonderful memories to share.
St. Elias mountain approaching Wrangell-St. Elias
National Park in Alaska
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier


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