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Salazar Announces National Park Service Will Waive Fees on Three Summer Weekends to Increase Tourism, Boost Economy


Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, in a visit to Ohio today, announced that the National Park Service will offer three fee-free weekends this summer to encourage Americans seeking affordable vacations to visit these national treasures. The 147 National Park Service sites across the country that charge fees for entry will waive these entrance fees during the weekends of June 20-21, July 18-19, and August 15-16, 2009.

Topic / Summary / Transcript
Topic: : Secretary Salazar says national parks provide affordable vacations for American families.
"Many families are looking to take inexpensive vacations near to home. We want to encourage Americans to get into the great outdoors to visit our national parks where they can enjoy our nation’s rich natural, cultural and historical heritage. And while they do that, they’ll be providing a boast to our economy. Therefore I’ve ordered the National Park Service to waive entrance fees in national parks on three weekends this summer. Just about every American can make it into one of our national parks. I hope that Americans will take advantage of this great opportunity."

Topic: The Secretary was in Ohio to highlight the $23 million that will be invested in Ohio under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He visited Cuyahoga Valley National Park and spoke to the City Club of Cleveland.
"We’re in Ohio taking the message to the people of Ohio that the investments we’ve made here in the economic recovery act are going to create jobs. We have shove-ready projects in the national park systems, those projects are going to be bid and people are going to be going back to work. We have a very great sense of optimism and a can-do attitude about getting our economy out of the ditch. It’s what President Obama has been leading us to do and I’m carrying his message here in Ohio today because it’s the right message."

Topic: : Most Americans live less than a day’s drive from a park, the Secretary noted. Nationwide, parks and tourism support more than 213,000 jobs, not counting National Park Service jobs. Secretary Salazar says these are jobs that are not exportable.
"Tourism helps the American economy because we create jobs through tourism. Millions of jobs are created across the country every year because of vacations and people hunting and fishing and just being in the great outdoors. And so we need to make sure that people of this country understand that these are jobs that are not exportable jobs, they are jobs here in the United States, and so investing in tourism is one of the greatest things that can happen throughout all of our states in all 50 states of America."