National Public Lands Day
Do you have plans for tomorrow? National parks across the United States will be free to enter on two days the rest of the year and one of them is tomorrow, September 25, 2021.
Most National Park Service sites will waive their entrance fees Saturday to celebrate National Public Lands Day. National Public Lands Day was established in 1994 and is held annually on the fourth Saturday in September. The day is organized annually by the National Environmental Education Foundation, in cooperation with the Department of the Interior, Department of the Army, and Department of Agriculture. While most are familiar with the National Parks, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, and US Army Corps of Engineers also participate in this event each year.
Roughly 100 National Park Service sites charge entrance fees that range from $5 to $35. According to the NPS site, the fee-free days provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or an old favorite, especially one of the national parks that normally charge an entrance fee. The waiver does not cover the fees for camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours. Keep in mind that some of the most popular national parks may still require a reservation to enter the park. Your entrance will be free, but it may require you to enter at a particular time.
There are many ways to participate in National Public Lands Day.
First, please recreate responsibly! Our National Parks and public lands have been heavily used during the pandemic and this year, our most popular national parks have shattered their visitation records. In July, over one million people went to Yellowstone National Park, which has never happened before. Keep in mind that nearly all of those visitors are US residents since our borders are still technically closed for another few months.
Take part in a volunteer work project at a location near you. Some of these park projects will provide a fee-free day coupon that can be used on a future date. Saturday is traditionally the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort. Here is a list of all of the volunteer events at the national parks. That link will also list other National Public Lands Day events.
Visit a national park for free and enjoy the benefits of being outdoors. Did you know that being in nature can help reduce stress, improve your mood and focus, and lower your blood pressure? “Being outdoors in nature can be healing and beneficial for the body and mind,” says Erica Price, a certified therapeutic recreational specialist at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. Need more evidence? According to a study in the Journal of Aging and Health, adults over 70 who spent time outdoors experienced fewer sleep difficulties, complained less about aches and pains, and enjoyed improved mobility and ability to perform daily activities.
If this is too short of notice to change up your plans for tomorrow, then mark your calendar for Veterans Day in November. That day will be the final free entrance day of 2021.