These Are the Days You Can Visit National Parks for Free in 2018
Every national park in the country will be free to visit on four occasions next year, the National Park Service announced Tuesday.
The NPS will waive all entry fees on the following dates in 2018, according to the announcement:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Jan. 15)
- The start of National Park Week (April 21)
- National Public Lands Day (Sept. 22)
- Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
The announcement represents a marked reduction in fee-free days at national parks. Last year, for example, nature lovers had 10 chances to visit NPS properties without paying. Presidents Day (Feb. 10), the weekends of National Park Week, the National Park Services' birthday (Aug. 25) and the second day of Veterans Day weekend were cut from this year's fee-free schedule. Still, the majority of the NPS' parks — 299 out of 417 — never charge entrance fees.
While this year's announcement does not mention the reduction, it may be related to another high-profile cost-saving measure proposed by the NPS. Earlier this year, officials suggested hiking — and, in some cases, doubling — entry fees at popular properties including Grand Canyon National Park, Yosemite and Yellowstone, in an effort to fund infrastructure developments and maintenance.
A budget proposal from President Donald Trump would cut $1.5 billion from the Interior Department, which runs the NPS and other agencies. Trump donated his first-quarter salary to the NPS in April.