Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the National Park Service will offer three fee-free weekends this summer to encourage Americans seeking affordable vacations to visit these national treasures. There are 391 national park units located across the country in 49 states. “During these tough economic times, our national parks provide opportunities for affordable vacations for families,” Salazar said at a press conference at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. “I encourage everyone to visit one of our nation’s crown jewels this summer and especially to take advantage of the three free-admission weekends. National Parks also serve as powerful economic engines for local communities and we hope that promoting visitation will give a small shot in the arm to businesses in the area,” he said. National Park Service sites across the country that charge fees for entry will waive these entrance fees during the weekends of:
June 20-21, July 18-19, and August 15-16, 2009.
Many park partners including tour operators, hotels, restaurants, gift shops, and other vendors will offer additional discounts and special promotions on those dates. More information on the fees and discounts can be found at https://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm . Most Americans live less than a day’s drive from a park, the Secretary noted. Nationwide, parks last year attracted more than 275 million recreation visits. Spending by non-local visitor provided $10.6 billion for local economies, supporting more than 213,000 jobs, not counting National Park Service jobs. The National Park Service website provides information to help the public plan their park adventures at www.nps.gov.