Not included in this fee-free offer: sites administered by the Bureau of Land Management or U.S Fish and Wildlife Service that charge entrance fees; National Forest Service areas that charge a standard amenity fee (trailhead parking lots, for example); state parks.
Just so you know, at national parks the deal applies only to entrance fees. Other charges will still be collected, such as:
• campground fees
• advance reservation fees
• permit fees
• tour fees
• concession fees
April 21, which also happens to be the birthday of conservation legend John Muir, is Volunteer Day, where you can pitch in on a project within a park. (We bow down to volunteers. In case you missed it, check out this story of 2 remarkably dedicated volunteers at Mount Rainier National Park.) April 28 is National Junior Ranger Day, where youth can fulfill tasks and be sworn in as Junior Rangers.
By the way, have you noticed the new graphic treatment that has been rolled out at all park websites in the past few weeks? Fancy. (Where the popular Park Map button? It's now a link in the left-hand column: View Park Map under "Park Tools.") The homepage for Shenandoah, I think, uses the new wide-screen format to good effect. Don't miss that park's annual Wildflower Weekend on May 5-6, though the guess here is that the warm spring in the East has plenty of wildflowers already popping in Shenandoah.
Before you head out to the park of your choice, consider equipping your smartphone with a free park app from Chimani, a developer of outdoor apps.
So, no entrance fees the next 2 weekends at national parks. Go. See. Breathe. Enjoy.
Photos: Wild geranium photo courtesy of National Park Service; Park Avenue in Arches National Park (below) by T.D. Wood.