In case you hadn’t heard, it’s National Park Week! The celebration started April 16th and continues until the 24th. National Park Week is the perfect time to explore our nation’s beautiful outdoors or reconnect with historical treasures from America’s past. Best of all, during National Park Week, admission to all National Parks is completely free.
There are 394 National Parks in the United States covering over 80 million acres of forest, desert, canyons, everglades, lakes, rivers and mountain landscapes. These protected areas encompass some of America’s most iconic cultural landmarks, including the Grand Canyon, the National Mall and the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina.
This year, National Park Week is themed Healthy Parks, Healthy People.
In no place is America’s natural and historic legacy more evident than our extraordinary collection of 394 national parks. “Healthy Parks, Healthy People,” the focus for this year’s National Park Week, highlights the role of public lands — whether an iconic national park or a local green space — in connecting human and environmental well-being. To encourage citizens to spend time in national parks, all entrance fees will be waived during National Park Week. All Americans can visit www.NPS.gov to find nearby parks where history can be discovered and nature explored.
The National Park Service, with 84 million acres of land and 17,000 miles of trails, works with environmental groups, scientists, business innovators, and health-care providers to promote physical activity in parks. Every Federal dollar invested in our national parks generates benefits for State and local economies. Beyond park boundaries, the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program works with communities to create and enhance local parks, revitalize rivers, preserve valuable open spaces, and develop trail and greenway networks that provide close-to-home outdoor opportunities for everyone — from children to seniors — to get outside, get healthy, and have fun.
Photo credit: Alberto Vaccaro