WASHINGTON – Since Saturday, April 21, America has been celebrating National Park Week 2012. Presented by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, National Park Week offers FREE admission all week long to all 397 national parks making it the perfect opportunity for everyone to get out and explore our nation’s 84 million acres of breathtaking landscapes, historical sites and cultural treasures.
“There’s still plenty of time to visit a national park and take advantage of all the great activities going on this week,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Picture yourself exploring a national park and sharing your experience with others.”
“With so many incredible tools and useful information available, planning a National Park Week adventure couldn’t be easier,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “We encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about how they can continue to support these amazing places year-round.”
Here are five ways to enjoy the five remaining days of National Park Week:
VISIT: Choose a park from the list of 397 possibilities on www.nps.gov. There are parks in four U.S. territories and every state except Delaware, so chances are there’s one not too far from you. Remember all entrance fees are waived all week.
SHARE: The theme of National Park Week 2012 is “Picture Yourself in a National Park.” Please share your pictures (and videos, stories, and recommendations) with others by posting them on www.nationalparkweek.org.
BECOME A JUNIOR RANGER: Saturday, April 28 is Junior Ranger Day. Children between the ages of 5 and 12 can earn a Junior Ranger badge by participating in free special programs and activities. If you can’t make it to a park, then become an online WebRanger. Visit http://www.nps.go /webrangers/ and try your hand at 50 different park-related activities.
VOLUNTEER: Become a VIP (Volunteer-in-Parks) and help support your favorite park. Last year, more than 200,000 people donated their time and talents to the National Park Service. Staff an information desk, give tours, conduct bird counts, archive historic photographs, help with underwater archeology, join a bike or horse patrol – the opportunities are almost limitless. Find out more at www.volunteer.gov.
VIEW: Watch 25 great videos from 25 great national parks inviting you to picture yourself in the park. Hopefully, they inspire you to plan your own park adventure. You can view the videos on the National Park Service YouTube site. The parks featured in the videos are:
- Andersonville National Historic Site
- Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
- Badlands National Park
- Big Bend National Park
- Big Cypress National Preserve
- Biscayne National Park
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
- Cane Rive Creole National Historical Park
- Congaree National Park
- Denali National Park and Preserve
- El Morro National Monument
- Everglades National Park
- Fort Sumter National Monument/Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
- Grand Teton National Park
- Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
- Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
- Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
- Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
- Mount Rainier National Park
- Point Reyes National Seashore
- Sleeping Bear Dues National Lakeshore
- Thomas Edison National Historical Park
- War in the Pacific National Historical Park
- Weir Farm National Historic Site
- Yosemite National Park
For more information, please visit www.nationalparkweek.org for a calendar of events and plenty of information on how to visit, volunteer and support national parks.