National Parks Week celebrates with fee-free day at all national parks

Images courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The National Park Service is joining the National Park Foundation to celebrate “National Park Week,” which will include free admission to all parks Saturday and several special events throughout the week.

Visitors celebrate National Park Week, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News

The theme for National Park Week in 2018 is “Park Stars,” celebrating everything from starry skies to volunteers, park features and resources.

“Parks, programs and partners nationwide invite people everywhere to explore stories, experiences, and sites that brighten the National Park System and public lands,” the park service said in a news release.

The weeklong celebration goes from April 21-29. Parks across the country will host a variety of special programs and events.

During the park’s fee-free day Saturday, all U.S. parks managed by the park service will be free admission.

During the fee-free day, kids can take part in Junior Ranger Day, which encourages children to explore, learn about and protect national parks while earning their own junior ranger badges.

Also Saturday, park visitors can take part in various volunteer opportunities to help preserve the country’s natural, historical, recreational and cultural treasures.

Bryce Canyon National Park from Sunset Point, date not specified | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

In celebration of Earth Day Sunday, parks will mark the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System and the Wild & Scenic Rivers System, which were established in 1968 for the conservation and enjoyment of nationally significant, scenic, historic, natural or cultural qualities of designated trails and rivers.

April 28 marks Military and Veteran Recognition Day in honor of the 5,800 active-duty military and veterans who work for the park service.

On April 29, visitors will be encouraged to use the parks as a resource for exercise and mental health during National Parks Rx Day in recognition of the growing movement of prescribing parks and nature to patients to improve human health.

Visitors and residents of Southern Utah have ready access to some of the nation’s most popular national park destinations, including Zion and Bryce Canyon.

A complete listing of events taking place during National Park Week can be found on the National Park Service website.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Pa Triot April 22, 2018 at 7:36 am

    So…….our National Parks (particularly Zion) are bursting at the seams with visitors. The “plan” to help alleviate this and raise more money for park/road maintenance was a minimal $5 increase……..and now we have ‘Free National Park Day’. I don’t think our Federal/Government officials could manage to hit water if they jumped out of a boat.

  • Wolverine April 23, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Well, there have been “FREE” National Park access days for many many years. So this is NOTHING NEW. In 2016 there were 16 days, last year there were 10, this year we are offered a whopping 4, with varying numbers of days offered each year for as long as I can remember. If someone is offered a day to view a N. Park for free, they are much more likely to return and pay the entrance fee and visit again or choose another N. Park to visit as a paying customer and bring along friends and family. N. Parks get millions of visitors each year, so a $5.00 increase may not sound like much, but if it helps maintain the roads and N. Park maintenance, then I’m all for it. It sounds like you need to visit the closest N. Park and appreciate some of the wonderful things that are out there for us to see. Utah, since you mention Zion, has many N. Parks and Monuments. They are beautiful, interesting places to visit, and yes, there are many in the state that depend upon those tourism dollars for their living. They probably need to do a better job of managing the crowds, that I’ll agree on, however, I don’t see the demand for entry going away anytime soon. Go take a hike! – I mean that in the most respectful and encouraging way of course, get on out there and see the wonders of your closest N. Park. – Maybe go on a weekday, to avoid the weekend crowds.

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