National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Celebrate National Public Lands Day with Free Admission and Special Events at National Parks
On September 22, join in the nation’s biggest celebration of the great outdoors on National Public Lands Day! All national parks will have free admission and many will host volunteer service projects open to all.
“Every year, Americans come together on National Public Lands Day to demonstrate their love of national parks,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith. “Activities hosted by parks across the nation will promote environmental stewardship and encourage the use of public lands for education, recreation, and good health.”
Marking its 25th anniversary this year, National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest single-day environmental volunteer effort. More than 200,000 people are expected to participate in volunteer service events designed to improve the health of public lands and encourage shared stewardship.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan K. Zinke will celebrate the day by working alongside groups of military veterans and youth to paint several historic structures at Grand Canyon National Park. The volunteer project to restore the cabins is an example of the $11.6 billion in deferred maintenance needs in the National Park System. Secretary Zinke will also meet with national park partners and congressional representatives to discuss legislative efforts to address the maintenance backlog.
Grand Canyon is just one of 100 national parks and 2,600 federal public land sites hosting National Public Lands Day events. In other national parks, volunteers will rehabilitate campgrounds, improve trails, restore native habitats, repair bluebird boxes, clean beaches, and refurbish historic buildings, among other projects. Check NPS.gov for more information and a list of sites.
Volunteer efforts on days such as National Public Lands Day demonstrate the willingness of people to give back to the land for the benefit of parks. Volunteers assisting on work projects on National Public Lands Day will receive a voucher that can be redeemed for free entrance to any national park on a date of their choosing.
National Public Land Day celebrations also include recreational and educational activities, such as hikes, bike rides, paddle trips, bird watching excursions, and water quality testing. To encourage everyone to join the fun, it is an entrance fee-free day for national parks and most other federal public lands and state parks.
The National Environmental Education Foundation coordinates National Public Lands Day in partnership with seven federal agencies as well as nonprofit organizations and state, regional, and local governments. The federal partners are the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.
$70 to visit Grand Canyon? There is a 30 days comment period underway right now where the public (and that means you) can weigh in on a significant entrance fee proposal that would affect a number of national parks including Grand Canyon. See this link for details and to access the website for submitting comments. https://www.nps.gov/…/1…/10-24-2017-fee-changes-proposal.htm
Will lower income and under-served populations be priced out? Shouldn’t national parks be affordable and accessible to everyone? But how do we pay for the massive maintenance backlog that exists in our national parks? Our parks belong to ALL Americans, not just those who visit them, and our administration should be boosting park budgets, not cutting them. Congress should also support the bipartisan legislation introduced specifically to address the NPS maintenance backlog — the National Parks Legacy Act (HR 2584 and SB 751) which is currently pending.
Also, please read these related blogs from our good friends at the National Parks Conservation Association:
“We should not increase fees to such a degree as to make these places — protected for all Americans to experience — unaffordable for some families to visit,” NPCA president and CEO Theresa Pierno said in a statement. “The solution to our parks’ repair needs cannot and should not be largely shouldered by its visitors.”
National Park Service News Release
Release Date: November 14, 2017
National Park Service Announces Fee Free Days for 2017
Ten More Great Reasons to Visit a National Park
WASHINGTON – Combine great scenery and history with great savings and visit a national park for free on one of 10 fee free days in 2017.
The ten entrance fee-free days for 2017 will be:
“National parks are known for their priceless beauty,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “They are a bargain anytime but on these ten days in 2017, they really will be priceless. We want everyone to visit their national parks and the fee free days provide extra incentive to experience these amazing places.”
During the fee free days, all National Park Service sites will waive their entrance fees for all visitors. Usually, 124 of the 413 national parks charge entrance fees that range from $3 to $30. The other 289 sites do not have entrance fees. The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for things such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.
To continue the national park adventure beyond these fee free days, the annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks,. There are also free or discounted passes available for senior citizens, current military members, fourth grade students, and disabled citizens.
The National Park System includes more than 84 million acres and is comprised of 413 sites including national parks, national historical parks, national monuments, national recreation areas, national battlefields, and national seashores. There is at least one national park in every state.
Last year, 307 million people visited a national park. They spent $16.9 billion which supported 295,000 jobs and had a $32 billion impact on the U.S. economy.
In addition to national parks, the National Park Service works with tribes, local governments, and partners across the country to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Programs such as the National Register of Historic Places, National Heritage Areas, National Wild and Scenic Rivers, and the Rivers, Trails, Conservation Assistance Program revitalize communities, celebrate local heritage, and provide places for people to get outside, be active, and have fun.
2017 Pathways Conference presented by Colorado State University, US Fish & Wildlife Service and Rocky Mountain National ParkPosted: December 2, 2016
Pathways Conference 2017
Join us for the Pathways 2017 conference hosted by Colorado State University, in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado!
Abstract due date: April 24, 2017 (Call for abstracts Dec. 1)
Mark your Calendar: September 17 – 20, 2017
Location: This year we return to the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Nestled in the outskirts of the beautiful town of Estes Park, the YMCA of the Rockies is surrounded by Rocky Mountain National Park on three sides. This venue provides a fantastic setting with abundant wildlife viewing opportunities at your doorstep.
|National Park Visitor Spending Contributes $32 Billion to Economy
Every public dollar invested in National Park Service returns $10
WASHINGTON – Spending by a record number of national park visitors in 2015 provided a $32 billion benefit to the nation’s economy and supported 295,000 jobs, according to a report released today by National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.
“The big picture of national parks and their importance to the economy is clear,” Jarvis said of the $16.9 billion visitors spent in communities within 60 miles of a national park. “Each tax dollar invested in the National Park Service effectively returns $10 to the U.S. economy because of visitor spending that works through local, state and the U.S. economy.
“This is especially significant news to the gateway communities where national parks can be the community’s primary economic engine,” Jarvis said. “While we care for the parks and interpret the stories of these iconic natural, cultural and historic landscapes, our neighbors in nearby communities provide our visitors with important services like food and lodging and that means hundreds of thousands of local jobs.”
The report comes on the heels of a major policy speech delivered by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell earlier this week. The Secretary called for greater investments in national parks and public lands to prepare for the next century of conservation. The address, delivered during National Park Week, also called for a course correction in conserving America’s public lands; made an argument to make our national parks more relevant to an increasingly diverse and urbanized country; and called for implementing smarter, landscape-level planning to support healthy ecosystems and sustainable development on public lands.
Visitor spending in 2015 supported 295,000 jobs, provided $11.1 billion in labor income, $18.4 billion in value added, and $32.0 billion in economic output to the U.S. economy. The lodging sector provided the highest direct contributions with $5.2 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 52,000 jobs. The restaurants and bars sector provided the next greatest direct contributions with $3.4 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 65,000 jobs.
According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).
The annual peer-reviewed economics report, 2015 National Park Visitor Spending Effects, was prepared by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. It includes information by park and by state on visitor spending, the number of jobs supported by visitor spending and other statistics.
Report authors this year also produced an interactive tool to present data in full color circle and bar graphs . Users can explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: go.nps.gov/vse.
National Park visitation is expected to grow again in 2016, the centennial year for the NPS. There are now 411 parks in the national park system, the latest is the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in Washington D.C., established by President Obama on April 12.
President Obama established a Centennial Initiative for the NPS anniversary and Congress is considering a centennial act to support a multi-year effort to invest wisely in the park system’s most important assets, use parks to enhance informal learning, engage volunteers, provide training opportunities for youth, and enhance the NPS’s ability to leverage partnerships to accomplish its mission.
National Park Visitor Spending Contributions to the U.S. Economy 2012-15
Arizona Voters Overwhelmingly Support Grand Canyon National Monument, New Poll Finds
Flying in the face of those who claim it would be unpopular to give the greater Grand Canyon watershed national monument status, a new nonpartisan poll finds that not only is there tremendous support for it but that it cuts across geographical and political lines.
“The results were overwhelming, and they demonstrated both strong and broad support [in] Arizona,” says Dave Metz of the research firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, which polled hundreds of Arizona voters in January.
The pollsters discovered that 80 percent of Arizona voters support or strongly support the Grand Canyon National Heritage Monument, as outlined in a bill U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives last year.
Grijalva brought together a broad coalition of native tribes, environmental groups, and local stakeholders to design the bill, which if passed, would permanently protect 1.7 million acres of land and prevent any new uranium mines.
|Courtesy of FM3|
“More than half of Arizonans say more needs to be done to protect air, land, and water around the Grand Canyon, and they clearly see establishing that monument as an effective way of reaching that goal,” Metz says, adding that “the sentiment that the area around the Grand Canyon needs protection has grown over time.”
A similar poll conducted in 2009 found only 43 percent of people supported it, and a poll last year found that 73 percent of Arizonans support it.
|Courtesy of Grand Canyon Trust|
Local native tribes and environmental groups have talked about wanting national monument status for the Grand Canyon for years, and Grijalva’s efforts to make it a reality have solicited nothing short of a political firestorm among enemies of the bill.
Leading the charge is U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar, who has railed against the monument proposal for months. Gosar claims it would cost hundreds of jobs, destroy the local economy, and hinder sportsmen or other recreational users of the area.
|U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva
Courtesy of Raul Grijalva
In an interview earlier this year, Grijalva told New Times that Gosar’s “opposition is based on myths” and that he “needs to own up to the fact that he’s on the fringe of every public-land argument we have in this country.”
The benefit of this, Grijalva explained, helps “put the opposition of some in context with many . . . It’s important to deal with what the public wants and thinks, as opposed to letting this discussion be mired in half-truths, false information, and the sheer cry from opposition that doesn’t represent the vast majority of the people in Arizona.”
Both Metz and Grijalva say they were impressed by the broad appeal of the monument, as men and women across the state expressed support for the idea of national monuments in general and the Grand Canyon monument in particular.
According to the poll results, there is support for the Grand Canyon monument among:
- 76 percent of men and 84 percent of women,
- 65 percent of registered Republicans, 84 percent of independents, and 95 percent of Democrats,
- 78 percent of people living in Congressional District 1, which is where the proposed monument would be,
- 79 percent of white voters, 86 percent of Latino voters, and 87 percent of all voters of color, including Native Americans,
- 81 percent of people living in urban areas, 83 percent in suburban areas, 79 percent in small towns, and 73 percent in rural areas,
- And 76 percent of hunters and anglers.
Unlike past polls, this most recent one also asked voters how their opinion of elected officials could be influenced by a vote for or against the monument:
“Voters were three times as likely to say they would support a politician who backed the establishment of the monument,” Metz says. “So not only do voters indicate that it’s a good idea, but they say that they’ll be more supportive of members of Congress who act to make the monument reality.”
Last year, Grijalva, along with Arizona U.S. Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick and Ruben Gallego, authored a public letter detailing their support for the monument. In the months since, however, Kirkpatrick has distanced herself from that stance, explaining that she’s still considering the statements of many local stakeholders.
But with public opinion clearly on his side, Grijalva says he’s ready to continue the fight: “As we go forward, we have strong support from the people in Arizona, the first nations most affected by this monument designation, [as well as] hunters and anglers and people that use our public land.
“I think we can start to put aside the shrill debate that occurs on this issue” and start taking “the steps to build public support.”