Free admission, warmer weather, longer days, and fewer crowds make this weekend a great time to visit a national park. To celebrate the coming of summer, the National Park Service is waiving entrance fees at all parks on June 5 & 6.
“National parks offer visitors great places to exercise their bodies and their minds- or just relax with family or friends,” said National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis. To accommodate visitors wishing to take advantage of the free entrance fees, Joshua Tree National Park will keep all of its campgrounds open through the upcoming weekend. “Normally we close some of our campground loops for the summer due to low visitation,” said Park Superintendent Curt Sauer, “but we’ll delay our normal summer closures so visitors will find all of our campsites open for the upcoming weekend.” Normal camping fees and other user fees will still be collected.
National Trails Day on June 5 is an opportune time to hike a portion of the 17,000 miles of trail located in national parks. Additionally, the National Park Service National Trails System manages more than 50,000 miles of historic and scenic trails of national importance, such as the Pacific Crest Trail and the Juan Batista de Anza National Historic Trail and more than 1,000 national recreation trails of local or regional significance. Joshua Tree National Park offers many different trails from easy self-guided nature trails to extended wilderness hikes.
Visitors to Joshua Tree are reminded that summer often brings high daytime temperatures that can exceed 100 degrees in the middle of the day. Normal hot weather precautions should be taken. Visitors should limit strenuous activity to the cooler morning and evening hours. When hiking or walking, you should always carry plenty of water (1 gallon per person per day), use sunscreen, and wear a hat and light clothing to cover sensitive skin.
Campers and picnickers are reminded to bring water as most park campgrounds and picnic areas do not have water available. Potable water is available at park visitor centers and at Black Rock and Cottonwood Campgrounds as well as the Indian Cove Ranger Station. The National Park Service entrance fees will also be waived on August 14 & 15, September 25, and November 11, 2010. Fees for activities such as camping, reservations, tours, or concessions are not affected by the entrance fee waiver.
There are 147 parks that normally charge entrance fees ranging from $3 to $25. The other 245 national parks do not charge entrance fees, so you can plan inexpensive visits year round.