The federal government announced Thursday that all National Park Service sites will have six entrance fee-free days in 2021 – so mark your calendars. The dates are:
• Monday, January 18 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
• Saturday, April 17 – First Day of National Park Week
• Wednesday, August 4 – One year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
• Wednesday, August 25 – National Park Service Birthday
• Saturday, September 25 – National Public Lands Day
• Thursday, November 11 – Veterans Day
Each of the fee-free days celebrates or commemorates a significant event, including the establishment earlier this year of the Great American Outdoors Act.
There are more than 400 National Park Service sites nationwide, with at least one in every state. Approximately 100 charge an entrance fee, with costs ranging from $5 to $35. The other 300-plus national parks do not have entrance fees.
Earlier this year, Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt signed Secretary’s Orders 3386 and 3387, granting veterans, Gold Star Families and fifth graders free access to all national parks, wildlife refuges and other Federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior. Veterans and Gold Star Families will have free access forever, while fifth grade students were granted the reprieve through this academic year as some of last year’s fourth graders may have been unable to make full use of the Every Kid Outdoors Annual Fourth Grade Pass due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY and fourth grade students will continue to have free access with discounted passes also available for senior citizens. For other visitors who love visiting our public lands, the annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is a great option, which allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks.
Last year, 327 million people visited national parks and spent $21 billion in local communities. This supported 340,500 jobs across the country and had a $41.7 billion impact on the U.S. economy.
Other federal land management agencies offering their own fee-free days in 2021 include the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Photo above: Viewing sunset from Mather Point on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. NPS/M.Quinn