This year, the week-long celebration is scheduled for April 18 to 26 with all parks offering free admission on April 18 and 19.
April 18 has also been designated as “National Junior Ranger Day,” as parks across the country will host various activities for children as well as offer the opportunity for them to get sworn in as junior rangers.
Additionally, on April 22, Earth Day, parks will host community “clean-ups.” Visitors are encouraged to “roll up their sleeves” and offer a helping hand with various park projects.
What’s more, national park enthusiasts can earn a free National Park Pass (which provides free access to national parks for one year) when they purchase a Thousand Trails camping pass during National Park Week.
This year’s celebration offers so many ways to get involved by getting outdoors and enjoying America’s natural beauty, and it also happens to coincide with several other innovative and educational initiatives being launched by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation.
In February, President Obama announced the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative, which aims to encourage young Americans and their families to visit and engage with public lands and waters by providing schoolchildren with passes that will grant them free access to national parks and other public lands.
And even more recently, both organizations teamed up to launch “Find Your Park,” an educational campaign designed to raise awareness about national parks by helping people find personal connections with America’s natural landscapes.
According to a recent press release the initiative, “invites the public to see that a national park is more than just a place -- it can be a feeling, a state of mind, or a sense of American pride. Beyond vast landscapes, the campaign highlights historical, urban, and cultural parks, as well as National Park Service programs that protect, preserve and share nature, culture, and history in communities nationwide.”
Needless to say, this is an operation that we at The Active Times can most certainly get on board with.
Perhaps what we are most excited about, though (aside from the fact that more Americans will be visiting and interacting with national parks), is the fact that all of these amazing efforts are paving the way to a grand celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service next year.
How do you plan on celebrating America’s national parks this year and beyond? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet us @TheActiveTimes!