Visit Any National Park for Free This Saturday to Celebrate 25th National Public Lands Day
If you're stuck for plans this weekend, we suggest escaping your city or town for the great outdoors.
The annual event is known to be the nation's largest single-day volunteer effort and is one of the four days in 2018 where you can visit any national park for free—even at parks that normally charge an entrance fee.
At last year occasion, roughly 169,000 people rolled up their sleeves at more than 21,000 sites, generating $16.7 million in volunteer hours.
The volunteers planted trees, removed trash, repaired structures and habitats and more, providing much-needed help in chipping away at the national park system's $11 billion backlog of repairs.
Last year, the Interior Department moved to more than double the entrance fees at the busiest parks to address maintenance and other costs, but backed away after widespread public backlash. Ultimately, NPS decided to increase entrance fees for the 117 parks that charge admission between $5 to $10 for annual passes.
Fittingly, the theme of this year's National Public Lands Day will focus on the "resilience and restoration" of our public lands.
"Every day, natural disasters and extreme weather, human activities, and a host of other factors take their toll on our public lands, threatening the health and wellbeing of the people and wildlife who depend on them," NEEF said on its website. "Public land managers, volunteers, and others who steward these special places work tirelessly to restore these areas, make them more resilient to future threats, and ensure that people and wildlife continue to enjoy them for years to come."
The annual event, which always falls on the fourth Saturday of September, is held in cooperation with seven federal agencies and more than 250 state, county, city, university and school partners.
National Parks Service