National Park Service Announces Free Admission Dates for 2022
National parks are America’s best idea, and there are more than 400 parks available to everyone, every day. The fee-free days provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or an old favorite, especially one of the national parks that normally charge an entrance fee. The others are free all the time.
The free days include some of the most well-attended and awe-inspiring national parks in the country — Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain, Acadia, Denali, Zion and more. Many of them normally charge entry fees of up to $35 per vehicle.
For 2022, five fee-free dates are:
- Monday, January 17 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- Saturday, April 16 – First Day of National Park Week
- Thursday, August 4 – Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
- Saturday, September 24 – National Public Lands Day
- Friday, November 11 – Veterans Day
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired Americans to stick with domestic travel, prioritize social distancing and escape into the great outdoors. Our national parks became go-to destinations during 2020 & 2021 — and that trend has continued into 2022.
National parks have something for everyone. Recreational experiences can range from a relaxing picnic to a thrilling white-water adventure and everything in between, including walking, camping, fishing, stargazing, swimming and paddling. Demonstrations and programs at cultural sites connect us with traditions from the past. Notable people and their contributions to society are remembered at historical sites. Chances to view wildlife in their natural habitats and see geological wonders provide lasting memories.
Those who plan to visit several national parks or anticipate repeat visits over the course of a year should consider investing in an America the Beautiful annual pass. The annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks that normally charge an entrance fee.
There are also free or discounted passes available for senior citizens, current members of the military, families of fourth-grade students, and disabled citizens.
The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days applies only to National Park Service entrance fees and does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation or special tours.
It should be noted that most national parks do not have entrance fees at all. Out of more than 400 national parks, approximately 110 have admission fees that range from $5 to $35. All of the money provided by entrance fees remain in the National Park Service and 80-100% stays in the park where collected. The funds are used to directly support the visitor experience by providing programs and services, habitat restoration and building maintenance and repair. Entrance fees, along with other funding sources such as the Great American Outdoors Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Federal Transportation Program and Cyclic Maintenance program, are part of a concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance backlog in national parks.
Data for 2021 is not out yet, but in 2020, 237 million people visited national parks and spent $14.5 billion in local communities. This supported 234,000 jobs across the country and had a $28.6 billion impact on the U.S. economy.
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