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National Park Service will waive Fees on Three Summer Weekends to Increase Tourism, Boost Economy
On the weekends of June 20-21, July 18-19, and August 15-16, 2009, Pipestone National Monument and the 146 other National Park Service (NPS) sites around the country that charge entrance fees will offer fee-free entry into the parks.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced, the National Park Service will offer three fee-free weekends this summer to encourage Americans seeking affordable vacations to visit one of 391 national parks located across the country in 49 states.
“During these tough economic times, our national parks provide opportunities for affordable vacations for families,” Salazar said “I encourage everyone to visit one of our nation’s crown jewels this summer and especially to take advantage of the three free-admission weekends.”
“National Parks also serve as powerful economic engines for local communities and we hope that promoting visitation will give a small shot in the arm to businesses in the area.” He said. The Secretary noted, nationwide, parks last year attracted more than 275 million recreation visits.
Spending by non-local visitor provided $10.6 billion for local economies, supporting more than 213,000 jobs, not counting National Park Service jobs.
Pipestone National Monument, Pipestone, Minnesota, attracted more than 80,135 recreation visits in 2008 from all over the world.
Pipestone National Monument offers an opportunity to explore American Indian culture and the natural resources of the tallgrass prairie. Established by Congress in 1937 to protect the historic pipestone quarries, the site is considered sacred by many American Indians. Spanning centuries of use, American Indians continue to quarry pipestone which they carve into sacred pipes.
Superintendent Glen Livermont encourages everyone to take advantage of the fee free opportunity and visit the Monument during one of these weekends. To learn more about visiting the Pipestone National Monument, visit the park’s web site at www.nps.gov/pipe or to learn more about the fee-free weekends in national parks around the country, go to http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm