Summer-like temperatures are commonplace in some parts of the National Park System, snow is falling in others. Regardless of the weather, look to the parks for some outdoor exercise or historical interpretation during National Park Week, April 20-28.
Unlike past years, free admission to the parks will only be offered April 22-26. In other words, during the week, not the book-ending weekends. Still, if you have an America the Beautiful pass in your wallet, or one of the park-specific annual passes, it won't cost you anything extra to enter the park of your choice.
“This year’s theme, ‘Did you know…’ provides a fun way to discover the wonders of America’s national parks,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “For example, did you know that national parks include seashores, battlefields, and historic homes? Did you know that the country’s highest peak, lowest point, tallest tree, deepest lake and longest cave are in national parks? Did you know that you probably live within an hour or two of a national park? National Park Week is a great time for all Americans to visit a nearby national park to camp and hike, watch wildlife, stroll a Civil War battlefield, and connect with our heritage and each other.”
National Park Week is also a good time to explore local parks, trails, and architectural gems sustained through National Park Service programs such as the Rivers Trails Conservation Assistance program and the National Register of Historic Places.
The annual celebration includes special events such as Junior Ranger Day on April 20 and Earth Day on April 22. Find a list of ranger-led programs and plan your adventures at www.nationalparkweek.org. You can also use the website to share your park experiences and photos and help support parks.
Here at the Traveler we'll be celebrating the week with the release of our 2nd Annual Essential Friends and Gateways initiative, which celebrates the great work of national park friends groups and cooperating associations and the incredible support and settings offered by gateway communities.