WASHINGTON – The National Park Service is turning 99 years old on August 25, 2015, and everyone is getting a present, free admission! Visit a park in your neighborhood or plan a trip to one of the 408 National Park Service sites across the country to join the party! To inspire visitors, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, have created a birthday list of 99 Ways to Find Your Park.
“The National Park Service’s 99th birthday is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the role of national parks in the American story,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “And it’s also a time to look ahead to our centennial year, and the next 100 years. These national treasures belong to all of us, and we want everyone – especially the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates – to discover and connect with their national parks.”
In preparation for the centennial celebration next year, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation are partnering to help audiences nationwide Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque. To encourage visitors to discover everything a park experience can be, the list of 99 Ways to Find Your Park includes a wide range of activities: from urban hikes and taking a sunrise selfie, to earning a Junior Ranger Badge and writing poetry. Visitors are encouraged to share their park experiences with friends and family by using #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque on social media.
On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation to create the National Park Service, which preserves and protects 408 sites throughout the country. Each one, whether it’s a national park, a historic site or a national seashore, was established by a president or Congress to protect, preserve and share its national significance for future generations. Some parks commemorate notable people and achievements; others conserve magnificent landscapes and natural wonders; and all provide a place to have fun and learn.
“As we celebrate 99 years of the incredible work of the National Park Service in communities across the country, we invite people everywhere to be a part of the Find Your Park movement and discover their own unique connections to parks and their programs,” said Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “We encourage everyone to join in the birthday fun. Take a look at our list of 99 ideas and check off what you’ve already done, share your experiences with friends and family using #FindYourPark and #EncuentraTuParque on social media, and try something new.”
The National Park Service waived all of its entrance fees on nine days in 2015. The remaining entrance fee free days are August 25 for the National Park Service’s birthday, September 26 for National Public Lands Day, and November 11 in honor of Veterans Day. The entrance fee waiver does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.