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).
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: Salazar Announces Fee Free Days at National Parks, Other Public Lands for 2013
Edited Jan. 2, 2013, correcting Fee Free FWS days in October
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced dates in 2013 ranging from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day to Veterans Day when more than 2,000 national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and other federal lands will offer free admittance to everyone.
“Our national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and other public lands offer every American a place to enjoy outdoor recreation, learn about our nation's history and culture, and restore our souls and spirits by connecting with the natural beauty and wildness of our land,” Salazar said. “By providing free admission, we are putting out an invitation to all Americans to visit and enjoy these extraordinary treasures that belong to all our people.”
The National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will waive their entrance fees and the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation will waive their standard amenity fees on September 28 for National Public Lands Day and from November 9 to 11 for Veterans Day weekend.
The National Park Service will also waive entrance fees on January 21 for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, from April 22 to 26 during National Park Week, and on August 25 to celebrate the agency's 97th birthday.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will also waive entrance fees on January 21 for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and October 13 for National Wildlife Refuge Week.
The Bureau of Land Management will also waive standard amenity fees on January 21 for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
The U.S. Forest Service will also waive standard amenity fees on January 21 for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and on June 8 for Get Outdoors Day.
“National parks and other public lands are becoming increasingly important for both our mental and physical health,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “In our fast-paced world, they provide places for good, old-fashioned social networking with others – places where we can relax and unwind, where we can experience new and different things, and where we can easily share thoughts and communal activities.”
Tourism and outdoor recreation are also powerful economic engines in communities across the country. Recreation on federal lands in 2009 provided 440,000 jobs and contributed $55 billion to the economy.
The fee waiver does not cover expanded amenity or user fees for things such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.
Active duty military members and their dependents are eligible for a free annual pass that provides entrance to lands managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Forest Service. The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program also offers a free lifetime pass for people with disabilities, a $10 lifetime senior pass for those age 62 and over, and a $80 annual pass for the general public.
America's great outdoors should be experienced by everyone,” said Salazar. “Our fantastic network of public lands provides world class recreational opportunities, the chance to view abundant wildlife in natural habitats, sites that showcase our nation's rich and diverse history, and some of the most incredible scenery found anyway. The fee free days will give both first time and repeat visitors a good reason to spend time in these extraordinary places.”