More than 2,000 national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, or other federal lands will offer free admittance to oudtoor enthusiasts this year. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced dates for 2013 when all parks and participating public lands offer free entrance.
"Our national parks, wildlife refuges, forests and other public lands offer every American a place to get outdoors, learn about our nation's history and culture, and restore our spirits," Salazar said in a press statement. "By providing free admission, we are rolling out the welcome mat for Americans to visit and enjoy these extraordinary treasures that belong to all of us."
The National Park fee free dates for 2013 are:
- January 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- April 22 - 26, National Park Week
- August 25, National Park Service Birthday
- September 28, National Public Lands Day
- November 9 - 11, Veteran's Day
The fee waiver does not cover expanded amenity or user fees for things such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.
Find a park for your next National Park Getaway.
The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. National Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will also participate in some of the fee free days as well as the following dates:
- January 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day - U.S. Forest Service
- June 8, Great Outdoors Day - U.S. Forest Service
- September 28, national Public Lands Day - U.S. Forest Service
- October 13, National Wildlife Refuge Day - U.S. Fish and Wildlife
- November 9 - 11, Veteran's Day - U.S. Forest Service
“Your national forests and grasslands are a bargain any day of the year, but even more so on fee-free days,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell in a press statement. “Whether you stay for a few hours or a few days, your public lands are some of the best travel bargains in the nation.”
Fees are not traditionally charged on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands, and approximately two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free. This includes opportunities such as camping and picnicking.
Learn more about free, or "dispersed" camping on public lands.
Additionally, active duty military members and their dependents are eligible for a free annual pass that provides entrance to lands managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Forest Service.
Americans made it clear that they want to reconnect or connect for the first time with the great outdoors. Public lands participating in free entrance days support the efforts of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative that aims to establish a 21st Century conservation and recreation agenda.
Additionally, each state's department of fish and wildlife designates free fishing days every year. Check this state-by-state calendar of license free fishing days.