If you enjoy spending time in the majesty of nature, pull out your 2018 calendar. The National Park Service (NPS) has announced four dates when you can visit any of its 417 parks and sites for free.
Admission will be waived to mark these occasions:
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – January 15
The start of National Parks Week – April 21
Public Lands Day – September 22
Veterans Day – November 11
Actually, most national parks are always free. Of the 417 NPS parks and sites only 118 charge admission. Interestingly, the most visited park in the system, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, does not charge for entry, per the terms under which the land was transferred to the Park Service back in the 1930’s.
And It can be argued that the current $25 entrance fee charged at most of the other popular parks is a bargain price for access the unsurpassed beauty of places like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Shenandoah and Yosemite.
But the cash-strapped NPS, facing a $12 billion maintenance backlog, has proposed raising the entrance fees at 17 popular parks to $70 during the peak travel season. The price of an annual pass would remain unchanged at $80. If the increase is approved, the price hikes would take effect as early as May 2018.
Plan your 2018 travel itinerary accordingly!