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Free US National Parks for a Week in April

It's the 100th birthday of the establishment of the U.S. National Park system—but this month, it's the public who'll receive the gift.

National Parks in the United States are granting free entry for an entire week in April. From April 16 to 24, over National Park Week, the American government will not charge fees to enter its parks.

Private concessionaires—and there are increasingly more of them as the government hands control over to the private sector—do not usually share in the magnanimity of the Parks system, so you still may have to pay for things like parking or tours.

In addition to free entry the national parks are launching a bunch of programs to encourage education and participation. From its website:

April 16: National Junior Ranger Day
Explore, Learn, Protect! Kids can take part in fun programs and earn a junior ranger badge or become a Centennial Junior Ranger.
April 22: Earth Day
On Earth Day, if you want to roll up your sleeves and pitch in with a project, look for a park where you can help out.
April 23: National Park InstaMeet
Join an InstaMeet in a park. Gather in a designated place at a specific time to take photos and short videos to post on Instagram (and other social media) with the same hashtag: #FindYourParkInstaMeet, #FindYourPark, #NPS100
April 24: Park Rx Day
Parks will host fun recreational activities that encourage healthy lifestyles and promote physical and mental well being. (Looking to host your own event? Download a Guide to Planning Your Own National Park Rx Day Celebration). [Note: That links to a PDF download.]

For more information, including a link to a calendar of events at parks around the country, visit the National Park Week event website.

For a list of other dates this year when American national parks will be free—April is the only month when you'll find so many free days in a row—click here and read our story.