National Park Service announces fee-free days for 2012

The National Park Service announces 17 fee-free days for 2012The National Park Service has announced the dates of its fee-free days for 2012, continuing a recent, and very popular, tradition of waiving entry fees to national parks throughout the year. Next year, travelers will have 17 such days during which they can visit their favorite parks while saving a few dollars in the process.

Earlier this week, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the fee-free days would include January 14-16 (Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend), April 21-29 (National Parks Week), June 9 (Get Outdoors Day), September 29 (National Public Lands Day), and November 10-12 (Veterans Day Weekend).

In addition to those 17 fee-free days for next year, there are still a few free days left for 2011 as well. All of the national parks will once again allow entry to travelers without paying on Veterans Day weekend, which is November 10-12.

For a complete list of the more than 100 parks that take part in the fee-free program click here.

The concept of not charging for entry to the parks was designed to inspire people to visit these amazing destinations. Considering that attendance has been at record levels the past few years, I’d say it has been successful. Announcing the dates this early also helps travelers to plan around these days, both to take advantage of the free entry or to avoid the crowds that inevitably come with them. Either way, it’s a great opportunity to experience a national park, and I’m glad the NPS is continuing the practice again in 2012.