Glacier National Park (Montana).
Credit: Steve Janosik, flickr.
From the awe-inspiring contours of the Grand Canyon to the Everglades’ sweeping “river of grass,” national parks are among the iconic landscapes that define America. There is no better time to celebrate these places than presidentially proclaimed National Park Week (April 18-26), the first two days of which—Saturday, April 18th and Sunday, April 19th—will offer free admission. Throughout the week, national parks will feature a variety of special activities and programs.
Especially as we approach the National Park Service’s centennial celebration in 2016, it is important to note that national parks can be fragile, and need our help to stay in good shape for future generations. In 2014, more people took trips to national parks than ever before, accounting for close to 300 million visits, but the National Park Service is reportedly operating under an $11.5 billion maintenance backlog. Funding conservation programs, which include national park maintenance, is essential to making sure we don’t end up loving our national parks to death.
North Cascades National Park (Washington). Credit: Kiliii Fish, flickr.
Take some time to plan out a national park visit soon. In the meantime, here are some blog posts, lists and interesting tidbits to get you ready for National Park Week:
- 17 unique things to do at our national parks
- America's best kept secrets: 20 unique national parks
- Infographic: Why our national parks are the pride of America
- A photo tribute: These gorgeous national parks and public lands need funding
- 15 time-lapse videos that capture national parks at their best
- Study: national parks generate billions in economic activity
- National parks are vital to local economies
- 42 national parks threatened by oil and gas drilling
- 15 national parks for fall color
- America’s 20 prettiest national parks in winter
- Study: 1/4 of national park land vulnerable to climate change shifts