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The National Park Service will wave entrance fees at all national parks on September 26 for National Public Lands Day (NPLD) —the country’s biggest annual celebration of the great outdoors. Established by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) in 1994, NPLD encourages environmental stewardship and the use of public lands for education, recreation, inspiration, and general health and wellness.
“National Public Lands Day is one of my favorite annual recognitions, as across the country I witness people sharing my passion for the outdoors. This year the importance of our parks and open spaces is even more pronounced as they are recognized as safe spaces to recreate, relax and rejuvenate,” said Margaret Everson, Counselor to the Secretary, exercising the delegated authority of the National Park Service Director. “National parks and other public lands provide all of us with places to enjoy the great outdoors. Congress’ passage and President Trump’s recent signing of the Great American Outdoors Act will ensure that these important resources are protected and enhanced for current and future generations.”
This year, many NPLD events will go virtual and provide opportunities for people to connect with public lands from home. A highlight will be a virtual concert at 10:00 AM EDT featuring musical artists and guest speakers broadcasting from some of America’s most scenic public lands, including Joshua Tree National Park and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Following the concert, the sites will host virtual environmental education and conservation events about topics such as health and wellness, career opportunities in conservation and diversity and inclusion in the outdoors. More information about the concert and corresponding events is available on NEEF’s website.
Some parks will host organized in-person volunteer activities that will incorporate physical distancing and other safety guidelines. Volunteers will build trails, clean waterways, remove non-native species and restore native landscapes at sites including Arches National Park, Buffalo National River, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Pipestone National Monument and Sitka National Historical Park.
All national parks will waive entrance fees on September 26 to provide additional opportunities for people to spend some time outdoors. Even a small dose of nature can provide a mood boost and support overall physical and mental well-being. Begin a trip to a national park with a visit to NPS.gov to obtain updates regarding park operating status and tips about how to #RecreateResponsibly.
NPLD is coordinated by NEEF in cooperation with the Department of the Interior, Department of the Army, and Department of Agriculture. Participating federal agencies include the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.