Salazar Announces National Park Fee-Free Days for 2011

Have you made your New Year’s resolution yet? Have you broken it yet? Looking for a new one? Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced in a press release today 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.

Boulder Bridge in Rock Creek National Park

Boulder Bridge in Rock Creek National Park

When I was growing up in southern Ontario, Canada, my parents would take the family on long walks on stunning trails in our hometown every Sunday. Even though you see your family every day, it’s surprising how much more you get to know each other when you take a break from life’s electronic distractions and share stories and discussions while surrounded by the beauty of nature. Now that I live in Washington, DC, I still put on my hiking shoes and walk the trails of the District’s beautiful Rock Creek Park.

If you’re free this January 17th, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis suggests visiting Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Georgia, where “visitors can literally walk in Dr. King’s footsteps.”

A cluster of giant sequoia trees

A cluster of giant sequoia trees at Sequoia & King Canyon National Parks

Have you ever wanted to see the giant sequoias in Sequoia & King Canyon National Parks? Or experience the vastness of the Grand Canyon? No matter what your experience level is as a hiker or a walking enthusiast, if you make exploring the national parks a part of 2011, I bet you’ll be happy you did. There’s probably a lovely national park near you — click here to find out!

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).