National Park Service celebrates centennial by offering free admission | SteamboatToday.com

National Park Service celebrates centennial by offering free admission

— The National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday this year, and everyone's invited to the party.

During National Park Week, April 16 through 24, the National Park Service will offer free admission to all national parks. For a complete list of national parks, visit nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks-state.htm.

According to the National Park Service’s free entrance days webpage, these fee-free days offer visitors a chance to go to the 127 national parks that normally charge an entry fee ranging from $3 to $30.

In Colorado, those locations include Rocky Mountain National Park, Dinosaur and Colorado national monuments, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Florissant Fossil Beds.

Other fee-free days this year include Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18, the National Park Service Birthday from Aug. 25 through Aug. 28, National Public Lands Day on Sept. 24 and Veterans Day on Nov. 11

"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, in a news release. “It’s a great time to experience and celebrate our parks and historic places, discover and share with each other how these treasured places are vital and relevant to people from all backgrounds all over the country."

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Other highlights during the week include an education summit April 20, Earth Day events April 22, a national park "InstaMeet" April 23 and Park RXDay — a community health initiative in which medical doctors "prescribe" time in parks to promote wellness and help prevent and treat chronic diseases — April 24.

"We have an amazing variety of special events taking place during the centennial," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis in a news 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."

While the park service is waiving admission fees for the days listed, camping fees, reservations, tours, concessions and fees collected by third parties will remain in effect, unless otherwise stated.

Visit http://www.findyourpark.com to learn more about National Park Week activities throughout the country.