Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced that the National Park Service will waive admission fees on 17 selected dates throughout 2011 and encouraged all Americans to make a New Year’s resolution to visit a national park this year.
“Many people have made resolutions to spend more quality time with loved ones and to get outdoors and unplug in 2011,” said Secretary Salazar. “There's no better place than a national park to help keep those resolutions. Parks offer superb recreational opportunities, making them perfect places to enjoy our beautiful land, history and culture, and nurture a healthy lifestyle.” Salazar noted that with 394 national parks throughout the country, most Americans live within a few hours of a park, making them places for easy and affordable vacations any time of the year. “In these tough economic times, our fee-free days will give families many opportunities to enjoy our nation’s heritage and natural beauty in meaningful and affordable ways,” he said.
The 2011 free-entrance dates for all National Park Service sites will be the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 15-17), National Park Week (April 16-24), the first day of summer (June 21), National Public Lands Day (September 24), and the weekend of Veterans Day (November 11-13). Joshua Tree National Park will also waive it’s entrance fee on August 10, 2011 as part of the celebration of the park’s 75th anniversary.
The first fee-free days are centered on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. "Visitors can literally walk in Dr. King's footsteps at national parks such as Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Georgia, Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama, or the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC," said National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. "They are just a few of the dozens of national parks which trace the history of African Americans."
The entrance fee waiver does not include other fees collected in advance or by contractors—such as fees charged for camping, reservations, tours and use of concessions. Many national park concessions will also offer discounts on fee free days, saving visitors money on food, lodging, tours, and souvenirs. More information is available at http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.