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Contact: Shannan Marcak, 928-638-7958
Grand Canyon, Ariz. - Grand Canyon National Park will kick off National Park Week with a weekend of Earth Day activities and then will join national park units around the country in waiving entrance fees on April 22 - 26, 2013.
The festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 19, with a free screening of the film Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time in the Grand Canyon Visitor Center theater. On Saturday, April 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Shrine of the Ages, Grand Canyon's Green Team will host environmental author Mary Ellen Hannibal, who will explore the critical nature of wildlife corridors and review the history of America's native wildlife habitats, which include natural habitats found within national parks, and share what scientists are doing to combat the gradual loss of these important lands along the spine of the continent. On Sunday, April 21, an open-house style Earth Day celebration will be held at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include educational activities, demonstrations and games, samples, and information on local and national environmental initiatives. The day will conclude with a walk and trash pick-up along the rim at 2:30 p.m., volunteers are welcome. All of the weekend's activities are family friendly and free of charge.
The fee-free celebration of National Park Week begins the next day. Visitors who arrive at the Grand Canyon April 22 - 26 will be allowed to enter the park free of charge. Those who plan to spend time in the park beyond April 26 will need to pay the regular entrance fee for the remainder of their stay.
"This year's National Park Week theme, 'Did you know…', provides a fun way to discover the wonders of America's national parks," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.
According to Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga, "Oh, there are some wonderful 'Did you knows…' at Grand Canyon! For instance, did you know the oldest rocks at Grand Canyon are estimated to be about 1.8 billion years old? Did you know Grand Canyon was once a designated forest reserve, and then a game preserve? Did you know that the oldest human artifact found at Grand Canyon is about 12,000 years old? The staff here at Grand Canyon National Park encourage everyone to take advantage of National Park Week to visit one of their national parks free of charge and see what 'Did you knows…' they can discover."
Park visitors are reminded that the fee-free designation applies to entrance fees only and does not affect fees for camping, reservations, tours or use of concessions. Park entrance stations will have Interagency Senior and Annual Passes available for those who wish to purchase them.
To learn more about Grand Canyon's Earth Day celebrations, please contact Green Team member Marty Martell at 928-638-7834. For more on National Park Week, please visit www.nps.gov/npweek or www.nationalparkweek.org. And to learn about the year's remaining national park fee-free days, please visit http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.