Free National Parks Days 2014

January 19th, 2014

Navajo Arch in Arches National Park

Navajo Arch in Arches National Park

133 of the 401 national parks charge an entrance fee but the National Park Service has a few free days a year. For 2014 the first free day is Monday, January 20th for Martin Luther King Day. You can find the parks that normally charge a fee but are free on these days on this list.

Free National Park Days 2014

  • January 20 -Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • February 15-17 – Presidents Day weekend
  • April 19-20 – opening weekend of National Park Week
  • August 25 – National Park Service Birthday
  • September 27 – National Public Lands Day
  • November 11 – Veterans Day

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Free National Park Entry This Weekend

January 13th, 2012

Grand Canyon

All 397 national parks across the country are offering free admission this weekend, January 14 through 16, to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

Camping probably isn’t on most people list of things to do at National Parks in snowy parts of the country for these free days but there’s still plenty to do in winter. Many National Parks such as Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone and Yosemite are good for snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

More free National Park days in 2012

  • April 21-29 – National Park Week
  • June 9 – Get Outdoors Day
  • September 29 – National Public Lands Day
  • November 10-12 – Veterans Day weekend

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Visit National Parks and Monuments Free

January 14th, 2011

Grand Canyon

One of the highlights of my summers as a kid was going on road trips to national parks. Just last week we were at the Grand Canyon and showed it to our kids for the first time.

The last couple years the government has been having free days at national parks and monuments. Last week Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the free days for this year. The first days are this weekend including Monday, Martin Luther King Day.

Park and monument entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees are waived. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not free unless stated otherwise. Many national park concessioners will have special offers.

Mark your calendar for these fee-free days in 2011:

  • January 15-17 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday weekend
  • April 16-24 – National Park Week
  • June 21 – First day of summer
  • September 24 – Public Lands Day
  • November 11-13 – Veterans Day weekend

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When Worlds Collide

November 11th, 2010


The outdoors has been featured prominently in entertainment news lately.

Last week, Oprah Winfrey and her friend Gayle visited Yosemite on her first-ever camping trip and first-ever trip to a national park.  She was invited by park ranger Shelton Johnson, who has made it a personal goal to increase the number of African-American people visiting the national parks.

The pair embarked on an Oprah-style shopping spree (no spending limit) at a California REI store before they went, stocking up on supplies, and arrived at Yosemite with a stuffed Coleman camper and enough gourmet food (sea bass, anyone?)  to feed the entire campground.   I have to admit it was entertaining TV.  Oprah built a respectable campfire, but then had to wait until after dark for the coals to be ready for cooking; Gayle started her camp slipper on fire; Oprah wore pajamas that matched her sleeping bag (who wears pajamas when they’re camping!?)

Johnson was prominently featured in the segment, and he got to make his case for getting African-Americans to visit the outdoors.  It’s been a goal of his for a long time.   He’s the only black park ranger in Yosemite and he told a newspaper reporter a year ago that he’s trying to increase the number of black Yosemite visitors (less than 1 percent of the total). 

“It’s bigger than just African Americans not visiting national parks,” he said. “It’s a disassociation from the natural world.  I think it is, in part, a memory of the horrible things that were done to us in rural America.”

Oprah is back in one of her homes, but Johnson’s campaign hasn’t stopped. Now, he wants another high-profile visitor: rapper Snoop Dogg.  Johnson and change.org have teamed up to lure Dogg into the park.  “All Snoop Dogg has to do is go camping in Yosemite and it would change the world,” Johnson says.  There’s a petition to Snoop Dog’s PR firm, 5W Public Relations, calling on the rapper to go camping.  Check it out  here.

But wait…that’s not all.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Forest Service presented their newest honorary forest ranger with a badge and ranger hat to Betty White.  White, who is 88, said she wanted to be a forest ranger when she was a young girl, but that women weren’t allowed into the agency then.

“Wilderness is harder and harder to find these days on this beautiful planet, and we’re abusing our planet to the point of almost no return,” she said. “In my heart I’ve been a forest ranger all my life, but now I’m official.”

 - Deb Acord

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Free National Park Entry This Weekend

June 4th, 2010

Great Sand Dunes National Park

This weekend it’s free to get into over 100 National Parks. It’s the 2nd set of days this year for free entry. There are 3 more times this year for free entry. They are

  • August 14-15, 2010
  • September 25, 2010 (Public Lands Day)
  • November 11, 2010 (Veterans Day)

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