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In celebration of the 97th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS), all 401 national park units—including Chiricahua National Monument—will waive entrance fees on Sunday, August 25, 2013. Known as “Founder’s Day”, this event observes the creation of the NPS through an act of Congress back in 1916.
At the three NPS sites in Cochise county, Chiricahua National Monument (NM), Coronado National Memorial (NMem) and Fort Bowie National Historic Site, wildflowers abound due to the terrific monsoon moisture our area has been receiving this year. Park officials encourage visitors and local residents to take advantage of this opportunity to explore the parks in Cochise County and enjoy late summer activities such as hiking, biking, picnicking, wildlife watching and scenic photography.
Western National Parks Association (WNPA), a non-profit park partner that operates the bookstores in the park visitor centers, will help celebrate by offering a 15% discount on all items on August 25th. WNPA is also conducting a membership drive through the end of September. Membership and purchases in park visitor centers directly support education and interpretation at the parks.
The fee waiver applies to entrance fees only and does not include fees for camping. Chiricahua National Monument includes the Bonita Canyon Campground; campsites are $12/night. For more information about planning a trip to the Cochise county NPS sites, visit www.nps.gov/chir, www.nps.gov/coro, or www.nps.gov/fobo, or call one of the visitor centers listed above.
On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the NPS Organic Act that established, through congressional legislation, a new agency with a mandate “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and 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 the enjoyment of future generations.” Today, the NPS cares for 401 sites throughout America, each providing recreational and educational opportunities while preserving our nation’s heritage. These special places also provide valuable insight into our shared natural and cultural history. The NPS will celebrate its centennial in 2016.
As part of Founder’s Day, visitors are invited to share their national park experiences with others through a special website at www.nps.gov/aboutus/npsbirthday.htm. For more information on fee-free opportunities in national park units around the country, visit www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks/htm. In addition to the August 25th fee waiver, NPS sites will also allow free entry on September 28 (National Public Lands Day) and November 9-11 (Veterans Day Weekend).