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You can visit national parks for free on two days in August. Here’s what to know


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BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Visiting a national park on these two days in August could save you some money.

Some National Park Service sites will waive entrance fees on two days in August. Many parks will be free to visit Wednesday — Aug. 4 — to mark the one-year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act. The legislation provided up to $1.9 billion a year for five years to put toward maintenance at national parks, forests and other public lands

“Each of the fee-free days celebrates or commemorates a significant event, including the establishment … by President Trump of the Great American Outdoors Act,” Margaret Everson, counselor to the secretary, said in a December news release.

The second chance to save some cash is later in the month for the National Park Service’s birthday on Aug. 25. This year marks 105 years since the National Park Service was created.

About 100 National Park Service sites charge entrance fees that range from $5 to $35. Visitors won’t be asked to pay the fees on these dates during the rest of 2021:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 4 – One year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
  • Wednesday, Aug. 25 – National Park Service Birthday
  • Saturday, Sept. 25 – National Public Lands Day
  • Thursday, Nov. 11 – Veterans Day

In 2020, many of the parks shut their gates for a period of time to visitors to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Even with that closure, more than 237 million people visited the country’s national parks.

In 2021, however, more people than ever have been visiting the most popular national parks. Several parks have consistently shattered visitation records from month to month.

“Throughout the country, every national park provides a variety of opportunities to get out in nature, connect with our common heritage and experience the vast array of benefits that come from spending time outdoors,” Everson said. “Hopefully the fee-free days will encourage everyone to spend some time in their national parks.”