Tuesday marks the 104th birthday of the National Park Service, and to celebrate, visitors won’t have to pay park entrance fees on that day.
However, the coronavirus pandemic has altered the operations of many national park sites, so it’s best to check on conditions before you go. For example, many indoor facilities, such as visitor centers, may be closed. Some campgrounds are also shut down and other services may be limited.
The National Park Service currently recommends – but does not require – that park visitors wear face coverings.
President Woodrow Wilson signed the legislation creating the National Park Service into law on Aug. 25, 1916. Today, it consists of more than 400 sites. Last year, they welcomed more than 300 million visitors.
The parks shut down in March as the pandemic swept the country, and began reopening in phases before the summer.
To address a decades-long repair and maintenance backlog, Congress over the summer approved legislation to provide $1.9 billion a year for five years to fix roads, bridges, trails, campgrounds, visitors centers and wastewater and water infrastructure.
National parks are getting more funding: What it means for visitors (including an extra free day)
President Donald Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law on Aug. 4. To mark the occasion, the National Park Service created a new fee-free day every August.
Other upcoming fee-free days this year include Sept. 26 for National Public Lands Day, and Nov. 11 for Veterans Day.
Visiting a reopened national park after lockdown? What to know before you go
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