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Great American Outdoors Day: Celebrate with free admission to national parks 

Tomorrow, we celebrate a pivotal moment in the history of national parks when the Great American Outdoors Act was enacted into law on August 4, 2020 by President Donald Trump. 

Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt referred to this legislation as “the most consequential dedicated funding for national parks, wildlife refuges, public recreation facilities and American Indian school infrastructure in U.S. history.”

Critical legislation 

This critical legislation aids in tackling the deferred maintenance projects in our national parks and public lands. Each year, national parks play host to over 325 million visitors, which necessitates significant repairs to the infrastructure, including roads and trails.

According to the Department of the Interior, the act will support tens of thousands of jobs, improve public access and visitor experiences, advance environmental justice and contribute billions of dollars to local economies.

With the support of the National Park Foundation, the Great American Outdoors Act embarks on a journey to protect our parks so they can be cherished by generations to come.

Great American Outdoors Day 

To celebrate the passage of this historic conservation law, Bernhardt designated August 4th as Great American Outdoors Day. On this day,  all entrance fees to national parks are waived across the country. 

The upcoming fee-free day presents a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the outdoors. Whether you want to hit the trails, hop on a bike, or leisurely float in the lake, this summer day is ideal for indulging in all that the parks have to offer, free of charge.

National Park Service 

In the summer of 1916, a significant stride was made in the realm of nature conservation when the National Park Service was instituted on August 25th. 

Rooted in the ideal to “preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations,” this institution has since flourished into an expansive network of over 400 national parks. 

The NPS also contributes to numerous programs that influence communities throughout the nation and beyond.

Fee-free days

There is no shortage of activities to be explored within the vast National Park System, and tomorrow’s fee-free day presents the perfect opportunity. 

In addition, the National Park Service announces several other special days each year when the parks open their gates free of charge for all visitors. Upcoming fee-free days in 2023 include National Public Lands Day on September 23 and Veterans Day on November 11.

Most visited national parks

Millions of visitors are drawn to national parks in the United States each year for their unique beauty and diverse wildlife. These parks, which include some of the most majestic landscapes found across the country, continue to be a source of inspiration, recreation, and education for people of all ages. 

Here’s a list of some of the most visited national parks:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

As the most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains are known for their mystic foggy peaks, diverse plant and animal life, and a rich cultural history.

Grand Canyon National Park 

Renowned for its immense size and intricate and colorful landscape, it offers some of the most stunning vistas in the world.

Yosemite National Park

Famous for its dramatic waterfalls, giant sequoias, and breathtaking cliffs, Yosemite is a testament to the wild beauty of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.

Yellowstone National Park

As the first national park in the world, Yellowstone is famed for its geysers, hot springs, and diverse wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, and herds of bison and elk.

Zion National Park

Known for its immense sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into the bright blue sky, it’s Utah’s oldest national park.

Rocky Mountain National Park

With over 300 miles of hiking paths, wildlife, and beautiful alpine lakes, this park in Colorado is a destination for those looking to experience the Rocky Mountains.

Olympic National Park

A unique park in Washington State that encompasses three distinct ecosystems – glacier-capped mountains, Pacific coastline, and lush temperate rainforests.

Acadia National Park

This park in Maine offers rocky coastlines, wooded landscapes, and icy waters of the North Atlantic that provide habitats for a variety of wildlife.

Joshua Tree National Park

Famous for its otherworldly landscapes including rugged rocks and the park’s namesake Joshua Trees, this park spans both the Colorado and Mojave Deserts in California.

Glacier National Park

Known as the “Crown of the Continent,” Glacier encompasses rugged peaks, wildflower-filled meadows, and crystal-clear lakes in Montana.


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