After the National Park Service increased national park fees on January 1 this year, you’ll be pleased to know that today is one of the few chances you can visit fee-free! Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the first free day to visit some of your favorite national parks near you. Here’s everything you need to know.
National Park Service Fee Increase
On January 1, 2020, National Park Service raised the entrance fees to 111 fee-charging national parks across America. Their original fee proposal was released in October 2017. After public comments, NPS decided to moderately increase the entrance fees this year. There is thought to be around $11.6 billion in deferred maintenance across all of their 419 parks, monuments, and historical and cultural sites. So, the extra money raised from increased fees will ensure they can keep everything maintained and running smoothly.
Luckily, you don’t have to pay those increased fees if you decide to visit any of the fee-charging national parks on January 20, 2020 – also known as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This is the first fee-free day of the year run by the National Park Service, but that’s not all. As the federal holiday is also a day of service, there will be hundreds of volunteers all taking part in projects at national parks across the country.
Whether you just want to visit your local national park for free or if you want to be actively involved in one of the volunteer projects, the NPS website has all of the details you need. There are a range of volunteering opportunities on their site, ranging from just a one-day experience through to an ongoing position. If you want to make the most out of not paying an entrance fee, MLK day is an excellent opportunity to do just that. You don’t need to do anything other than turn up!
Today is the first of five free entrance days at national parks across the country, with the next in April. So, if you want to get out and experience nature, today is the day to do it.