ST. GEORGE — In celebration of National Public Lands Day, entrance fees will be waived Saturday at all national parks and other federal public lands within the U.S. National Park system.
The last such fee-free day was Aug. 25, when the NPS celebrated its 101st anniversary. The next fee-free days will be Nov. 11 and 12, in honor of Veterans Day weekend.
Park visitors are reminded that the fee-free designation applies to entrance fees only and does not affect fees for camping, reservations, tours, permits or use of concessions. Those who plan to spend time in a national park, monument or recreation area beyond Sept. 30 will need to pay the regular entrance fee for the remainder of their stay.
National Public Lands Day is billed as the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort to give back to public lands. Following are a few of the local areas with events taking place:
Cedar Breaks National Monument
At Cedar Breaks National Monument, rangers will be leading a vegetation project Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The public is invited. Participants will be able to give back to Cedar Breaks by collecting native seeds as well as transplanting native forbs and grasses to rehabilitate disturbed sites. They may also do some trail rehabilitation to provide better hiking experiences, according to an official news release about the event. Those wanting to take part should meet at the visitor center at 10 a.m. and make sure to bring good boots, gloves, a warm jacket, water and food. The daytime temperatures could be between 40 and 50 degrees, so participants are asked to dress warmly and come prepared for rain and wind.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park staff invites visitors to participate in daily ranger programs at the North Rim and Grand Canyon Visitor Center, Yavapai Geology Museum, Verkamps Visitor Center, Desert View Watchtower and Tusayan Museum. To celebrate both National Public Lands Day and Hispanic Heritage Month, Flagstaff’s Ballet Folklorico de Colores will do a special presentation Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Hopi Stage in Grand Canyon Village.
Grand Canyon National Park visitors on National Public Lands Day are encouraged to take advantage of the Tusayan shuttle bus, which runs at 20-minute intervals between 8 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. daily, providing an expedited, hassle-free entry into the park and the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. To board the shuttle in Tusayan, visitors must have a valid park pass, which can be a seven-day vehicle, individual or motorcycle pass. Parking for the shuttle bus can be found anywhere in Tusayan.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Lake Powell visitors can also take advantage of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area’s fee-free day Saturday, with waivers being given for both the single-day vehicle pass (normally $25) and the individual pass for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists (normally $12). Guests wanting to spend additional days beyond Saturday will need to purchase a pass for the extra days.
Local beautification efforts
The celebration isn’t limited to national parks and monuments. At least one local group is planning a service project to celebrate National Public Lands Day Saturday in an area near Sand Hollow State Park.
The Desert Roads and Trails Society (Desert RATS) will be conducting its fourth annual Sand Mountain Cleanup Run Saturday, from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Participants should meet at the water tanks, after which the group plans to split off into groups to run as many trails as possible and pick up trash along the trails on Sand Mountain. The Bureau of Land Management will provide a dumpster and trash bags.
“When we first started these cleanups, we filled two 30-yard dumpsters to overflowing,” Desert RATS president Jeff Bieber said. “Every year, we find less and less trash. Last year, we picked up less than 20 (cubic) yards of trash.”
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