2011 National Park Week
Sun-drenched granite boulders, spike-armed Joshua trees, and a bewildering variety of colorful wildflowers all await visitors to Joshua Tree National Park during the upcoming National Park Week slated for April 16-24, 2011. The park’s natural beauty and exhilarating sunshine is available free during this annual celebration of our nation’s national parks as Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has waived entrance fees at national parks during National Park Week. Camping and special-use fees will still be collected, however.
National Park Week is an opportunity to engage families and communities in America’s Great Outdoors, reconnecting them with nature and creating close-to-home opportunities for people to get outside, be active, and have fun. “Parks are a great untapped resource in fostering health and wellness across the U.S.,” said National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis. “Our national parks have always been loved for their symbolism and scenery, but we aim to increase the awareness of all parks as places for exercise and healthy living.” Americans of all ages are encouraged to use the national parks for walking, hiking, climbing, and other forms of physical recreation designed to improved fitness and wellness. At Joshua Tree, hundreds of miles of hiking and equestrian trails and thousands of rock and boulder climbs await outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels.
This year, Joshua Tree is celebrating its 75th anniversary as part of the National Park System. Activities, articles, and other information about the 75th anniversary can be found at the Joshua Tree anniversary website. A special commemorative edition of the park’s newspaper, the Joshua Tree Guide has been created for the 75th anniversary, and other anniversary commemorative items are on hand at park visitor centers.
In addition, Saturday, April 23 is National Junior Ranger Day throughout the National Park Service. Joshua Tree will offer special activities for children starting at 8:30 a.m. and running throughout the day. A special 75th anniversary edition of the park’s Junior Ranger activity guide has been created, and children who complete the program and become Junior Rangers will receive a special 75th anniversary Junior Ranger patch.
Joshua Tree Superintendent Mark Butler reminds everyone that now is a great time to enjoy the beauty of the park, its wildlife, and cultural and historic sites. “The desert is at its best for the next few weeks,” notes Butler. “There are plenty of interesting places to hike and explore in the park. We hope that as the public enjoys Joshua Tree during National Park Week, they’ll remember to drive safely and come fully prepared for desert conditions.” The park recommends that hikers should have water, food, a hat, sunscreen, and sturdy hiking shoes. Rock climbers should have proper, well-maintained equipment, and climb routes that are within their experience and capabilities. Visitors should report emergencies to park rangers, or call 909-383-5651.
For general information about park services and facilities, visitors can call 760-367-5500.