National Park Week, National Volunteer Week, & Earth Day 2021

An elderly woman with short blond hair with an image of a lighthouse and the ocean in the background.
Get to know some of the fabulous volunteers at Point Reyes National Seashore who were interviewed as we celebrated National Volunteer Week 2020 and the 50th Anniversary of the NPS Volunteers-In-Parks Program.

National Park Week is an annual week for celebration and recognition of your National Parks. National Park Week usually coincides with Earth Day (April 22). For 2021, National Park Week will be observed from Saturday, April 17 through Sunday, April 25.

National Volunteer Week honors the individuals who dedicate themselves to taking action and solving problems in their communities. For 2021, National Volunteer Week will be observed from Sunday, April 18 through Saturday, April 24. In 2020, we celebrate by recognizing and highlighting the accomplishments of some of our volunteers. Visit our National Volunteer Week 2020 Videos page to hear them speak about their work, their most memorable volunteer experiences, and their favorite places in Point Reyes National Seashore.

Earth Day began when a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, called for an environmental teach-in in 1969, which was inspired by the teach-ins dealing with the Vietnam War. The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, and drew an estimated 20 million participants. Tens of thousands of people filled New York's Fifth Avenue, Congress adjourned so members could speak across the nation, and at least 2,000 colleges marked the occasion. American Heritage Magazine called the first Earth Day "one of the most remarkable happenings in the history of democracy." Today, Earth Day is celebrated in 174 countries by over a half billion people, making it the most celebrated secular holiday in the world, a day on which people get outdoors, plant trees, clean up trash and lobby for the environment.

Your National Parks are living examples of the best this nation has to offer—our magnificent natural landscapes and our varied yet interrelated heritage. Parks can provide recreational experiences, opportunities to learn and grow, and places of quiet refuge.

This year, take a moment, an hour, a day to visit the national parks near you.

While entrance to Point Reyes National Seashore is always free, the opening day of National Park Week—April 17, 2021—entrance to all National Park Service sites is free. The National Park Service also offers a number of other fee-free days throughout the year.

Below are descriptions of ranger- and docent-guided activities we anticipate offering in 2021 during National Park Week. Check back in March or early April 2021 for confirmation that we will be able to offer these activities.

(L) A gray whale starting a breach and (R) whale watchers at the Lighthouse Observation Deck.

Experience Gray Whales

Date: Saturday, April 17; Sunday, April 18; Saturday, April 24; and Sunday, April 25
Time: 11 am to 4:30 pm
Location: Meet at the Point Reyes Lighthouse Observation Deck
Description: Volunteer docents will be stationed at the Lighthouse Observation Deck from 11 am to 4:30 pm to answer questions about gray whales. Visitors will be able to view gray whales through park-provided binoculars and scopes.
Contact: Bear Valley Visitor Center, 415-464-5100 x2 x5, email

A male ranger standing beside a large photo of a breaching humpback whale while talking with visitors about how gray whales dive.

Journey of the Whales

Date: Saturday, April 17; Sunday, April 18; Saturday, April 24; and Sunday, April 25
Time: 1:30 pm
Location: Lighthouse Visitor Center
Description: Join a Ranger to learn about gray whales as they migrate past Point Reyes. Learn about their habits and adaptations, and hope for a whale sighting from the Observation Deck. Program lasts 30 minutes.
This program is given out-of-doors. Come prepared for windy, cold and damp weather.
Contact: Bear Valley Visitor Center, 415-464-5100 x2 x5, email

A three-story-tall, white-sided, red-roofed lighthouse perched on a rocky headland with the ocean in the background.

A Look into the Lens

Date: Fridays through Mondays
Time: 2:30 pm to 4 pm (weather permitting)
Location: the Point Reyes Lighthouse
Description: See inside the Point Reyes Lighthouse and discover its history and function with a park ranger. Access requires a strenuous descent and ascent of 313 stairs. The stairs close when weather and winds are hazardous, i.e., if the winds are in excess of 40 mph (64 kmph). The first gallery (the middle chamber), which houses the original clockworks and from which one can get a close look at the first-order Fresnel lens, is open with a ranger present from 2:30 pm to 4 pm, Fridays through Mondays.
Contact: Bear Valley Visitor Center, 415-464-5100 x2 x5, email


Last updated: May 5, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


This number will initially be answered by an automated attendant, from which one can opt to access a name directory, listen to recorded information about the park (i.e., directions to the park; visitor center hours of operation; weather forecast; fire danger information; shuttle bus system status; wildlife updates; ranger-led programs; seasonal events; etc.), or speak with a ranger. Please note that if you are calling between 4:30 pm and 10 am, park staff may not be available to answer your call.

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