U.S. national parks are fee-free this Saturday

Looking for something to do this weekend? Want to get outside and enjoy the first days of fall? Well, you’re in luck, as the National Park Service is celebrating National Public Lands Day by waiving entry fees to all national parks this Saturday, September 24. That means you’ll be able to visit more than 400 different parks across the country absolutely free.

Since it first began back in 1994, National Public Lands Day has been an annual event that has focused on protecting shared outdoor spaces across the country. Each year, groups of volunteers get together at various sites in all 50 U.S. states to work together to improve trails, clean-up parks, plant trees, and a variety of other projects. In 2010 alone, more 170,000 volunteers, spread out over 2080 sites, participated in these events. Similar numbers are expected this weekend as well.

Some of the projects that will be worked on this weekend include the removal of fences near Yellowstone National Park to facilitate the movement of wildlife, the cleaning of trash along a Green Belt trail in Austin, Texas, and the repainting of a fence at the Appomattox Course House in Virginia. As of this writing, there are more than 1800 sites registered on the NPLD website, with more being added every day. To find a project close to where you live, click here.

Of course, if you would rather just take advantage of the fee-free day to enjoy some time in your favorite national park, that is perfectly acceptable too. The complete list of parks that are participating can be found here.

The park service has three more fee-free days scheduled for 2011. On November 11-13, entry fees will be waived in honor of Veterans Day weekend.