Saturday (June 9) has been declared Get Outdoors Day, and to give people an incentive to do just that, entrance fees and day-use fees will be waived on federal public lands managed by the Department of the Interior.
Here are places where an outdoor person can save a few bucks this Saturday:
• National parks, from Yosemite to Yellowstone: No entrance fees.
• U.S. Forest Service: No standard amenity fees (such as those charged for parking at trailheads).
• Bureau of Land Management recreation sites: No standard amenity fees or individual day-use fees.
• U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuge areas: No standard amenity fees or individual day-use fees.
Other fees, however, fees will be charged as usual, such as:
• campground fees
• advance reservation fees
• permit fees
• tour fees
• concession fees
• cabin-rental fees
• group day-sue fees
The dual goals of this unofficial holiday are:
1) To coax people unfamiliar with public recreation lands out of their media caves and into the sunshine, potentially to make their first-ever visit to a national park or federal recreation site.
Why bother to get outside? For starters, the simple act of taking a walk in the woods provides demonstrable health benefits, as this recent article in the Toronto Globe and Mail describes. How? Detachment from urban sounds, more opportunities for solitude, and exposure to an entirely new set of sensory stimuli, from sun on the skin to natural fragrances and sounds.
All good reasons to get outside for the day while saving a few shekels in the process. Two other fee-free occasions for federal recreation sites remain in 2012: National Public Lands Day (Sept. 29) and Veterans Day weekend (Nov. 10-12).