Travel: National parks celebrate centennial by offering free admission April 16-24

Special events planned throughout the year

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Rocky Mountain National Park pano. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

The National Park Service is celebrating it’s 100th birthday this year, and visitors can join the party by taking advantage of free admission to all national parks from April 16 to April 24.

“We have an amazing variety of special events taking place during the centennial,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a press release. “Some commemorate our first hundred years, but many others look to the future, to the next 100 years, and will help connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates. It is through them that America’s lands and stories will be preserved and passed on to future generations,” Jarvis said.

“With free admission to parks all week long, National Park Week is the perfect opportunity to check out a new location, revisit one of your favorite parks, and perhaps invite a friend who has never visited a park before to join you,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “It’s a great time to experience and celebrate our parks and historic places, and discover and share with each other how these treasured places are vital and relevant to people from all backgrounds from all over the country.”

National Park Week kicks off with National Junior Ranger Day on Saturday, April 16. Parks will host kid oriented activities and distribute the new Centennial Junior Ranger booklet and badge. Throughout the week, many parks will also host Every Kid in a Park events, which encourage fourth grade students to visit national parks and other public lands by offering a free annual pass.

Other highlights during the week include an education summit on April 20, Earth Day events on April 22, a national park InstaMeet on April 23, and Park RxDay on April 24.  Park Rx is a community health initiative where medical doctors “prescribe” time in parks to promote wellness and help prevent and treat chronic disease. More than a dozen national parks will offer health screenings and recreational activities, including an event with the U.S. Surgeon General.

Visit www.FindYourPark.com to learn more about National Park Week activities throughout the country.

Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque is a public awareness and education movement to inspire people from all backgrounds to connect with, celebrate, and support America’s national parks and community-based programs that help revitalize communities and commemorate local heritage.

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