Free entry to national parks, free of charge for the 105th anniversary

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2 backpackers turning a hairpin bend as they descend through a vast desert landscape of colorful peaks, ridge lines and cliffs.

NPS / M. Quinn

The National Park Service is celebrating its 105th anniversary and invites you for free to its parks to celebrate.

On Wednesday, August 25, all National Park Service sites will offer free admission, the National Park Service said on its website.

“National parks are America’s best idea, and there are over 400 parks available for everyone, every day,” said the National Park Service. “No-cost days provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or old favorite, especially one of the national parks that normally charge an entrance fee.”

Money raised from fees in national parks stays with the National Park Service, park officials said. And at least 80% remains in the park where it was collected.

Many parks charge an entrance fee, which can range from $ 15 to about $ 35 depending on the park, according to the National Park Service. Visitors should check participating parks and sites before setting out.

Several popular parks, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Yosemite, Big Bend, and Acadia, are among those waiving entrance fees to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service.

“On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law creating the National Park Service,” park officials said. “A new federal office of the Ministry of the Interior was responsible for protecting the 35 national parks and monuments then managed by the ministry and those which remained to be created.”

The National Park Service anniversary is the second day free in August and the fourth day free this year.

“Each of the free days celebrates or commemorates an important event,” said Margaret Everson, adviser to the secretary, in a December press release.

Visitors will not be asked to pay the fees on these dates during the remainder of 2021:

In 2020, many parks closed their doors for a while to visitors to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Even with this closure, more than 237 million people have visited the country’s national parks.

In 2021, however, more people than ever visited the most popular national parks. Several parks have consistently broken month-to-month visitation records.

“Across the country, each national park offers a variety of opportunities to get out into nature, connect with our common heritage and experience the vast array of benefits that come with spending time outdoors,” said said Everson. “I hope the Free Days encourage everyone to spend time in their national parks.”

Maddie Capron is a McClatchy real-time reporter focused on the outdoors and wildlife in the Western United States.

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