By Jason Epperson
The National Park Service has announced the fee-free days for 2019. All 115 of the fee-charging National Park Service units will waive entrance fees on five days next year:
Monday, January 21 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Saturday, April 20 – First Day of National Park Week/National Junior Ranger Day
Sunday, August 25 – National Park Service Anniversary
Saturday, September 28 – National Public Lands Day
Monday, November 11 – Veterans Day
The other 303 national parks do not have entrance fees. The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.
“The entrance fee-free days hosted by the National Park Service are special opportunities to invite visitors, volunteers and veterans to celebrate some important moments for our parks and opportunities for service in those parks,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith.
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. Though fun special events often surround the fee-free days, if you already have a pass, it may be better to avoid parks on the free days which see larger crowds in good weather. There are also free or discounted annual passes available for senior citizens, current members of the U.S. military, families of fourth-grade students, and disabled citizens.
Last year, 331 million people visited national parks spending $18.2 billion, which supported 306,000 jobs across the country and had a $35.8 billion impact on the U.S. economy. Other federal land management agencies offering their own fee-free days in 2019 include the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.