National Parks Offering Free Admission for National Public Lands Day

by Emily Morgan

America’s national parks are one of the many elements that make our country great. From Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic to the majestic Great Smoky Mountains, there’s so much to see from coast to coast. So if you’ve been putting off checking off a bucket list item by visiting one of the 423 national parks, we have the perfect date for you. In honor of National Public Lands Day, you can visit any of our national parks for free for the day without breaking the bank.

National Public Lands Day will be on September 24. As a result, you can get free entry to all national parks and other federal public lands, including national monuments, forests, recreation areas, seashores, wildlife refuges, historical sites, battlefields, and grasslands.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. As we mentioned earlier, there are over 400 national parks in the US, meaning you’ll have a wide variety of locations to choose from when mapping out your day. Check out this list to see all the national parks you can visit.

In addition, the National Environment Education Foundation also encourages people to spend the day volunteering at national parks and public lands. For the 29th annual celebration, there will be hundreds of volunteer events across the country that you can sign up for.

You can find a volunteer event and register to attend. Also, you can also check out events on the National Park Service website.

For instance, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will have multiple opportunities for volunteers to help with park improvement alongside staff and other volunteers.

On Saturday, September 29, at 9 a.m., the kick-off event will begin at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, located at 1194 Newfound Gap Road in Cherokee, North Carolina.

Celebrate Public Lands Day by volunteering at a national park

According to Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator Adam Monroe, the volunteer opportunities are designed to accommodate “folks of all abilities, no experience necessary.”

“Litter pick-up with Save Our Smokies is a great way to get out and about in the park and work at your own pace,” he said. “The trail maintenance project will be shoveling and compacting gravel to fill in low places on the trail that collect water. We will work as a team alongside NPS staff to share the workload and have a great day out there as well as get needed work accomplished.”

There will also be scientists with Discover Life in America on-site from 9-11 a.m. to encourage the public to collect information about the plants and wildlife they see in the park using the iNaturalist app.

During the day, park rangers and volunteers will also provide information about “Leave No Trace” policies and leading activities at visitor centers.