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As part of National Get Outdoors Day, Colorado National Monument is offering free entrance on June 9, 2012. All entrance fees, including commercial tour entrance fees and transportation entrance fees will be waived for the day. Normally, a seven-day pass to Colorado National Monument is $10 for a private, non-commercial vehicle.
The fee free day is in celebration of National Get Outdoors Day, which offers opportunities for visitors to experience outdoor activities. The goal of National Get Outdoors Day is to encourage first-time visitors and families to visit public lands and also to reconnect young people with nature. National Get Outdoors Day began in 2008 to encourage the American people to dedicate a single day to being outdoors and experience nature. These outdoor experiences motivate people to spend more time outdoors throughout other times of the year.
During the fee-free day, Colorado National Monument will offer several ranger-led programs throughout the day:
9:00 a.m. Rock and Stroll
Take a stroll with a ranger along the Canyon Rim Trail or the Alcove Nature Trail. Topics range from plants and geology to wildlife and history. Meet at Visitor Center. Bring water and wear sturdy walking shoes. About 1 hour. 1-mile roundtrip.
10:00 a.m. Monumental People
Thanks to the human residents of the Monument, trails built in the early 1900s lead visitors to amazing vistas, a historic road takes visitors around the rims of incredible canyons, and a flag flies from the top of Independence Monument every 4th of July. Listen to some of the amazing stories from the Monument's colorful history. Meet at the Visitor Center. 20 minutes.
11:00 a.m. Join a Ranger
A ranger will be on the back porch, for half an hour, sharing mini-programs 3-6 minutes each, on a variety of topics. Bring your questions and chat with a ranger! Meet at the Visitor Center.
2:00 p.m. Carving the Canyons
Wind and ice, sand dunes and floods, have all left their mark on the Monument's sheer-walled canyons and massive rock towers. Come hear a geologic story that spans over a billion years. Meet at the Visitor Center. 20 minutes.
3:00 p.m. Life in the Desert
From sheep that can scale cliffs to flies disguised as bees, the canyons and mesas are filled with an amazing diversity of life. Join a ranger to hear about some of the incredible adaptations and interactions of the Monument's wildlife and plants. Meet at the Visitor Center. 20 minutes.
6:00 p.m. Centennial Band Concert
The Devils Kitchen Picnic Area's natural rock amphitheater provides a spectacular backdrop for a toe-tapping good time as the Centennial Band offers a music sampler that is sure to please everyone's palate. There is no parking available at the event site, so event attendees should park at Wingate Elementary, located at 351 S. Camp Road. Free shuttle service will be provided. Buses will run every 10 minutes beginning at 4:45 p.m. Please bring a lawn chair to sit on.
7:00 p.m. Saturday Nights with a Ranger
Soak up the desert sunset with a ranger at the Book Cliffs View near Saddlehorn Campground. Explore topics from Astronomy to Wildlife and History as the sun goes down and the stars come out. Meet at the Book Cliffs View overlook. 45 minutes. Bring a flashlight.
During the fee-free day, visitors can also take advantage of a 10% discount on all items in the Colorado National Monument Association bookstore located at the Visitor Center.
In addition to the June date, other upcoming fee free dates in 2012 include National Public Lands Day (September 29) and Veterans Day Weekend (November 10 - 12). To learn more about fee-free days in all 397 national park units around the country, go to http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.