Next week from April 20 – 28 is National Parks Week, which is a great excuse to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family. The National Park Service in partnership with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s parks, supports over 400 national parks in the U.S. through conservation, education and community engagement. Together they have created National Parks Week to help bring attention and awareness to the national parks.
This year’s National Parks Week theme is “Did you know?”. For instance, did you know that every American lives less than 100 miles from a national park? There are over 400 national parks in this country that preserve more than 84 million acres of landscapes and historic monuments. We’ve covered some of the most popular national parks in the U.S. like the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Yosemite, however there are probably dozens in your area alone that you are unfamiliar with or haven’t visited yet, but now’s the time.
Here’s what you can do to get involved in this year’s National Park Week:
Visit a National Park. All national parks are offering FREE admission (yes you read that right!) from April 22 – 26. With some park fees at $25 per day, this is a great savings, so take advantage of this special offer. Check out the National Parks’ comprehensive parks database to find the closest national park in your area.
Get Involved in Events. In addition to free admission, many of the parks are hosting special events throughout the week. National events taking place include Junior Ranger Day on April 20, where young nature-lovers can learn about the national parks and be sworn in as Junior Rangers, as well as Volunteer Day on April 27 and Earth Day on April 22.
You can also visit the National Park Service’s website to see what specific events are going on in your area that you want to get involved in. For instance on April 20, New Yorkers can participate in New York Cares Day where you can help clean up the parks, community gardens and public spaces for spring and summer.
The national parks rely heavily on volunteers to keep the parks beautiful and running smoothly, so getting involved and helping out is a great way to help out. Whether it’s cleaning trails, helping in the visitor’s center or administrative work, it all makes a big difference. You can find volunteer opportunities in your area through the National Park Service’s website.
In addition to volunteering your time, you can also donate money to help preserve the national parks. The National Parks Foundation is the only national charity that directly supports the national parks and they offer a number of different ways that you can donate.
Be sure to “like” the National Parks Foundation and the National Park Services on Facebook to stay up to date on all National Park Week events and news, and keep us posted as to how you are celebrating National Park Week on our Facebook page!