A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Salazar Announces National Park Fee Free Days for 2011
Office of the Secretary
Encourages All Americans to Visit a Park this Year
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that the National Park Service will waive admission fees on 17 selected dates throughout 2011 and encouraged all Americans to make a New Year's resolution to visit a national park this year.
“Many people have made resolutions to spend more quality time with loved ones and to get outdoors and unplug in 2011,” said Secretary Salazar. “There's no better place than a national park to help keep those resolutions. Parks offer superb recreational opportunities, making them perfect places to enjoy our beautiful land, history and culture, and nurture a healthy lifestyle.”
Salazar noted that with 394 national parks throughout the country, most Americans live within a few hours of a park, making them places for easy and affordable vacations any time of the year.
“In these tough economic times, our fee-free days will give families many opportunities to enjoy our nation's heritage and natural beauty in meaningful and affordable ways,” he said.
The 2011 fee-free dates will be the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 15-17), National Park Week (April 16-24), the first day of summer (June 21), National Public Lands Day (September 24), and the weekend of Veterans Day (November 11-13).
The first fee free days are centered on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
“Visitors can literally walk in Dr. King's footsteps at national parks such as Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Georgia, Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama, or the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. “They are just a few of the dozens of national parks which trace the history of African Americans.”
“Several parks will also honor Dr. King by hosting volunteer projects for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on January 17,” added Jarvis. “It is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a day on, not a day off.”