The National Park Service turns 100 years-old in 2016 and wants everyone to celebrate with 16 days of waived entrance fees during the year. The entrance fee-free days for 2016 will be:
* Jan. 18 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
* April 16 - 24 – National Park Week
* Aug. 25 - 28 – National Park Service Birthday (and following weekend)
* Sept. 24 – National Public Lands Day
* Nov. 11 – Veterans Day
“Fee-free days provide an extra incentive to visit a national park, especially during next year’s centennial celebration,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We added extra fee-free days so that everyone has a chance to join the party. With locations in every state, finding a national park is easy. The hard part might be deciding which ones to visit.”
To honor the National Park Service’s centennial, the National Park Foundation has joined the National Park Service to launch a public engagement campaign called Find Your Park to help all Americans discover all the things that national parks can be. Visit FindYourPark.com for a list of Centennial special events across the country and to learn how to discover, explore, recreate, be inspired, or simply have fun in national parks.
Usually, 127 of the 409 National Park Service sites charge entrance fees that range from $3 to $30. The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for things like camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.
To continue the national park adventure beyond these fee free days, the $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 sites, including all national parks, throughout the year. There are also a variety of free or discounted passes available for senior citizens, current military members, fourth grade students, and disabled citizens.
On Aug. 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations.”
Today, the National Park System includes more than 84 million acres and is comprised of 409 sites with 28 different designations, including national park, national historical park, national monument, national recreation area, national battlefield, and national seashore.
Collectively, these sites contain more than 18,000 miles of trails, 27,000 historic and prehistoric structures, 247 species of threatened and endangered species, and 167 million museum items.
Last year, almost 293 million people visited national parks. Those visitors spent $15.7 billion in local communities which supported 277,000 jobs and had a $29.7 billion effect on the economy.
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 409 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit www.nps.gov.