National Park Week Kicks Off with a Free Day

We’re always talking about getting outside for exercise and relaxation. It’s good for the mind and body! This week 120 national parks and monuments that usually have a fee to visit are free to the public to celebrate the beginning of National Park Week. The national park system has been called “America’s best idea.” They are beautiful places that are preserved not for the rich and powerful but for any of us to visit. There are 423 parks in all; 303 are free all year long. For the other 120, visit this weekend!

This coming week, parks around the country will have special programs to celebrate. There will be events and experiences to help people learn more about the parks, history and nature. There will be online offerings as well. Each day has a different theme! Saturday is Park Prescription Day — get out there for the physical and mental health benefits of the great outdoors. Volunteer Sunday celebrates the more than 300,000 people who keep the parks going through their time and effort as volunteers! Military Monday recognizes the men, women and families of the U.S. military who serve the country and have a deep connection with the park. Transformation Tuesday celebrates people’s personal transformations as they use the parks to exercise and the transformations of the parks as they have evolved over the years. Wayback Wednesday takes a look back at the park system’s heritage and the work that goes into preserving them. Thursday is Earth Day, when it’s a time to celebrate the earth sciences and get recycling! Friendship Friday is all about spending time in the parks together; you can bring your gang to join in the fun or just have a nice relaxing day out as a group. Saturday, April 24, is National Junior Ranger Day. It’s time for the kids to get involved and earn their Junior Ranger badge by exploring the park. Finally, on Sunday, April 25, “Bark” Ranger Day is for your furry friend. Bring your dog for a walk in the park.

Last year most events were canceled or online, so it’s nice to see such a full schedule and so many fun, in-person activities! With the arrival of warmer weather, it’s a great time to get back to the parks. You do have to wear a mask on federal land and in federal buildings. In the parks, even if you are outside, you have to wear a mask “when physical distancing cannot be maintained.” That means on narrow or busy trails and at overlooks. But, that seems like a small price to pay to see such gorgeous sights and enjoy all the great services they offer!

Banner image: National Park Service
April 16, 2021
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