To help mark National Get Outdoors Day, all units of the National Park System will be free to enter this Saturday.
“Outdoor physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and national parks are great places to get out, experience nature, and get your heart pumping,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “There are so many things to see and do in a park, either on your own or on a guided tour. Stroll a battlefield, hike to a waterfall, observe wildlife, paddle a waterway, walk on the beach, or enjoy a picnic. There’s something for everyone in America’s national parks. We hope to see you on Saturday.”
National Get Outdoors Day is part of Great Outdoors Month, proclaimed by President Obama to encourage Americans, especially youth, to participate in outdoor activities and enjoy the beauty of public lands. Hundreds of organizations and businesses will partner with federal, state, and local agencies to provide fun and healthy events at sites throughout the country.
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Washington state expects several thousand people to take part in a signature Get Outdoors Day event featuring archery, disc golf, a flash mob, an obstacle course, soccer, parachute games, exercise classes, cooking demonstrations and other interactive activities.
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis is anticipating a big crowd for its “Get Outdoors under the Gateway Arch.” Activities will include a boot camp, yoga, Pilates, tai chi, fishing, gardening, bike rides, and walking tours. A list of other sites hosting National Get Outdoors Day activities can be found at this webpage.
The National Park Service will have four more entrance fee free days in 2012 – September 29 (National Public Lands Day) and November 10 to 12 (Veterans Day weekend). There are 133 parks that normally charge entrance fees ranging from $3 to $25. But here’s a tip – 264 national parks never have entrance fees, so you can plan inexpensive visits year round.
If you are planning a trip that includes multiple national parks, you might consider the $80 annual pass that provides entrance to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many other federal lands – more than 2,000 in all. This America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is offered free to all active duty military members and their dependents. Information on these and other pass options is available online at this site.