National parks offer free admission 17 days in 2011

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced that the National Park Service will waive admission fees on 17 selected dates throughout 2011. He encouraged all Americans to make a New Year’s resolution to visit a national park this year.

El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. (Photo: Tom Mangan)

“Many people have made resolutions to spend more quality time with loved ones and to get outdoors and unplug in 2011,” Salazar said last week. “There’s no better place than a national park to help keep those resolutions. Parks offer superb recreational opportunities, making them perfect places to enjoy our beautiful land, history and culture, and nurture a healthy lifestyle.” 

Salazar noted that with 394 national parks throughout the country, most Americans live within a few hours of a park, making them places for easy and affordable vacations any time of the year.

“In these tough economic times, our fee-free days will give families many opportunities to enjoy our nation’s heritage and natural beauty in meaningful and affordable ways,” he said. 

The 2011 National Park fee-free dates will be:

  • January 15-17 (weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day),
  • April 16-24 (National Park Week),
  • June 21 (first day of summer),
  • September 24 (National Public Lands Day), and
  • November 11-13 (weekend of Veterans Day).

The first fee-free days are centered on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

“Visitors can literally walk in Dr. King’s footsteps at national parks such as Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Georgia, Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama, or the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. “They are just a few of the dozens of national parks which trace the history of African Americans.”

Martin Luther King tomb
Crypt of Martin Luther King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, at the national historic site in Atlanta, Ga. (Photo: NPS)

“Several parks will also honor Dr. King by hosting volunteer projects for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on January 17,” added Jarvis. “It is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a day on, not a day off.”  

Many national park concessions will also offer discounts on fee free days, saving visitors money on food, lodging, tours, and souvenirs.

More information is available at

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