The MSN Traveler

Pack your rucksack: It's National Park Week

Free admission celebrates America's public treasures

By Greg Thilmont Apr 23, 2013 11:14AM

Mesa Verde National Park, courtesy of Greg ThilmontIf spring weather has you hankering to ditch work or school in favor of enjoying the great outdoors, this might just be the perfect time to play hooky.

 

Through this Friday, April 26, admission to the U.S.'s 401 national parks is free, from Mesa Verde N.P. in Colorado to Acadia N.P. in Maine and beyond to destinations such as Haleakalā National Park in Hawaii.

 

The true bargain is a part of National Park Week, held annually by the National Park Service.

 

The scope of this country's national parks system is immense, which according to the National Park Foundation, includes:

  • 84 million acres under protection
  • 17,000 miles of hiking and walking trails
  • 43,000 miles of shoreline
  • 27,000 historic and prehistoric structures
  • 100 million museum items
  • 12,000 campsites

Now those are perfect reasons to set-up camp while saving a bit of scratch.

 

Photo of Mesa Verde National Park is courtesy of Greg Thilmont

67Comments
Apr 24, 2013 10:05AM
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For mr sarcasm maybe you should follow your own advice there are 401 Nat Parks; and I found it on Google: National Park ()59
()79
18
46
78
International Historic Site1
National Battlefield Park4
National Military Park9
National Battlefield11
National Battlefield Site1
National Memorial ()28
National Recreation Area18
National Seashore ()10
National Lakeshore ()4
15
National Reserve2
National Parkway4
National Trail3
Other11
Total401

Bold indicates national parks.

Apr 24, 2013 10:00AM
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of course the national parks free when most of them are closed yellowstone doesnt open till memorial day weekend thanks to dept. of interior

 

Apr 24, 2013 9:33AM
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bummer they couldnt extend it into the weekend, then I'd be able to go :(
Apr 24, 2013 8:46AM
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FYI National Parks are always free. They have a suggested donation price like many museums. And you are a jerk if you don't pay.

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About 20 years about South entrance to Yosemite park was $5.00.  I gave the attendant $20.00 and told her I don't want any money back. 

My wife hit me and said it was $5.00.  But then I told the attendant to keep the extra in the Park service and not go to the General fund.

Two years ago then they rose it to $20.00. 

 

 

Did I plant the First seed to raise Park fees ? 

Apr 24, 2013 7:49AM
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There are 59 National Parks, not 401.  MSN should use Bing more often, or Google...
Apr 24, 2013 7:36AM
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Free this weekend.  They will probably lock them down afterwards as part of the

budget cut.  Don't let the President shut down your national parks while he reduces

hours on one of 4 White House Chefs.

Apr 24, 2013 6:56AM
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Well, this is very interesting.  I am being furloughed from the United States Park Police, the same United States Park Police that come up under the National Park Service, but they can turn around and announce FREE admission into the Parks to the public?  Really!  While I am not against making admission to the National Parks Free to the public, I do have a problem with being told that "we" have no funds and have to furlough the workers!  At least the Park Police workers.  This is such a crock! I so beyond frustrated and upset!  This is a part of the Federal Government that is hidden from the public! 

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america can somehow afford jet fighter which cost in excess of some four hundred million a copy; yet can not quite function as originally intended, and can also afford how much of american tax payer money going into foreign "investments". Yet america cannot afford a trivial amount need to maintain some of the countries best assets
Apr 24, 2013 6:30AM
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I'll be Voyageurs National Park will be crowded with tents resting on top of the snow

 

Apr 24, 2013 1:11AM
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The National Park Sernice?

The same National Park Service, that was laying people off, for lack of funds, caused bynthe sequester?

That National Park Service?

Now they have enough money they can forego admission for a week?

Apr 24, 2013 12:27AM
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That's nice, how about opening up the White House tours too since it's also paid for by tax dollars. But wait, punishing the American public is more important.
Apr 24, 2013 12:19AM
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I would believe that our national park system is the best in the world, and you will see people of all nationalities there. It's great that they have the free times of admission during the year so that more people can experience them. All of the parks as a whole, provide thousands of jobs during peak periods, so they are great for our economy. Can't wait to keep seeing more and more of them!
Apr 23, 2013 10:39PM
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Alot of our National Parks are run by the UN. Yellowstone is just one of them.
Apr 23, 2013 10:11PM
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THEY HAVE FREE WEEKS AT DIFFERENT TIMES THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, AND HAVE BEEN HAVING THIS FOR SEVERAL YEARS. THIS IS NOT THIS ADMINISTRATIONS DOINGS. THEY DO THIS TO TRY TO GET PEOPLE TO VISIT THE PARKS.
Apr 23, 2013 9:24PM
Apr 23, 2013 8:31PM
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Just remember that is against the law to take rocks "IN TO" a national park.  It is a fact, I talked with park hq. after a run in with a ranger.
Apr 23, 2013 8:15PM
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Take advantage - no other country in the world has been as forward thinking as the U.S.  A few of them have one or two parks, Canada has a few, but we have a bunch and most are spectacular.  If you go you will see people from China, Japan, France, Germany and everywhere else in the world because they have bee told about these great parks and they are so excited to see them.
Apr 23, 2013 7:55PM
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Apack, I think this is great for all those who don't have kids. Who wants to go on vacation and deal with someone else's brats screaming, yelling, and running around that you have nothing to do with? I have to plan my vacations for when kids are in school to have a nice peaceful relaxing time.
Apr 23, 2013 7:46PM
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Great idea. Make the parks free for a week while families cant go enjoy because kids are still in school. 
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