Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced that all 392 national parks will have free admission during National Park Week, April 17 to 25. Entrance fees to Joshua Tree National Park will be waived during this time period. The fee waiver for National Park Week does not include other fees collected in advance by the National Park Service or by contractors—such as fees charged for camping, tour reservations, and the use of concessions.
“We are rolling out the red carpet and inviting everyone to visit a national park and help celebrate National Park Week,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “Parks are fun and affordable destinations and great places to engage in healthy, outdoor activities, whether for a few hours or a few days.”
National Park Week, a program of the National Park Service, is an opportunity to engage families and communities in America’s Great Outdoors, reconnecting them with nature and creating close to home opportunities for people to get outside, be active, and have fun. “National parks preserve our heritage, promote recreational experiences, and provide places of quiet refuge,” said National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis. “Most people live within a short drive of a national park so I encourage everyone to spend some time enjoying America’s Great Outdoors during National Park Week.”
April is normally the busiest month at Joshua Tree so many visitor activities and ranger programs will be available for the public. A special 30-minute program on the history of the national parks will be presented each day at 2 p.m. from April 18-24 at the Oasis Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms. The Oasis Visitor Center is located at 74485 National Park Drive and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In addition, Saturday, April 24 is National Junior Ranger Day. Joshua Tree will offer special programs for children starting Sunday, April 18 through National Junior Ranger Day on the 24th. Junior Ranger programs will be held daily at 3 p.m. at the Oasis Visitor Center. A treasure hunt into the Oasis of Mara is planned for older Junior Ranger candidates, ages 8-12. For younger children, ages 4-7, a park ranger will lead a desert animal activity on the visitor center patio. Rangers will help children complete a Junior Ranger activity booklet to earn their Junior Ranger badge.
Other ranger programs can be found on the park’s website.
Joshua Tree Superintendent Curt Sauer notes that now is a great time to enjoy an above average wildflower year at Joshua Tree. The spring flower season is just now peaking in many areas of the park. “The desert is at its best for the next few weeks,” notes Sauer. “There are plenty of interesting places to hike and explore in the park. We hope that as the public enjoys Joshua Tree during National Park Week, they’ll remember to drive safely and come fully prepared for desert conditions.” The park recommends that hikers should have water, food, a hat, sunscreen, and sturdy hiking shoes. Rock climbers should have proper, well-maintained equipment, and climbing routes that are within their experience and capabilities. Visitors should report emergencies to park rangers, or call 909-383-5651.
For general information about park services and facilities, visitors can call 760-367-5500, or visit the Joshua Tree National Park website.