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 Service Will Waive Fees on August 14 and 15
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that the National Park Service will waive entrance fees on August 14 and 15 to encourage all Americans to visit our national parks.
“This fee-free weekend provides an opportunity for individuals and families alike to take an affordable vacation or to explore a nearby park they have never visited before,” Salazar said. “I encourage everyone to take advantage of the free admission to visit not only our greatest natural wonders but also our nation's historic and cultural icons.”
There are 391 national parks located across the country in 49 states, many of which will hold free events on August 14 and 15. A complete list by park or state is available at www.nps.gov. A sampling of offerings include:
Ranger-led programs with free instruction and equipment loans for those who want to get wet. Enjoy snorkeling at Cape Cod, kayaking at DeSoto, or canoeing in Congaree or Big Cypress. Prefer to simply chill out near the water? Bring your blanket to one of the 50 parks with beaches.
Watch history come to life at military encampments and firing demonstrations at Antietam, Gettysburg, Fort Laramie, Fort McHenry, Fort Vancouver, Fort Stanwix, Fort Matanzas, Kings Mountain, Wilson Creek, Kennesaw Mountain, and Yorktown.
Dance or tap your toes to the sounds of the Pig War Band at San Juan Island, Cajun music at Jean Lafitte, Ojibwe music at Grand Portage, mountain music on the Blue Ridge Parkway, folk songs at Carl Sandburg, classical music at Saint-Gaudens, or dulcimer music on the Natchez Trace Parkway.
The entrance fees being waived at the 146 sites usually charge for admission range from $3 to $25. There are 246 other parks that do not have entrance fees so you can plan a free visit year-round. The fee free waiver does not include other fees collected in advance or by contractors—such as fees charged for camping, reservations, tours and use of concessions.
The National Park Service website provides information to help the public plan their park adventures at www.nps.gov.