Free Park Entrance: National Public Lands Day

The fee-charging national parks will kiss that get-in fee goodbye on Sept. 26.


THERE ARE TRAVELERS... who've been to every state, and there are planners who've visited every state capital, and there are those quirky globetrotters who've visited every city that has over a half million people and begins with the letter "T" (just to do something a bit different on the rack-up-the-sites front). And there are those adventurers who never, ever miss a fee-free day at the national parks. This is not too difficult to achieve, if you have your calendar out early in the year, since the entrance-vamoosed days cover eight or so days, spread throughout the year. There are various observances tied to the fee-free days -- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the National Park Service's birthday, Veterans Day -- and not all of the parks even charge a get-in fee (in fact, just 127 out of 408 parks do). It is, in the end, an achievable travel goal, not that visiting every "T"-starting metropolis isn't. But if you want to do a different national park, for free, on each of those days, in a single year, here's betting that that particular dream is in reach. And you can practice, on Saturday, Sept. 26, when the next fee-free day rolls around in honor of National Public Lands Day.

NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY... "is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands." So if you want to scooch into Yosemite National Park or the redwoods and participate in a spiffy-up program, that's a fine way to spend the last Saturday in September. Of course, if you want to picnic or hike or camp or what-have-you, and you want to skip the gate fee, well, that is a-ok, too; the fees are waived for both recreational adventurers and volunteers alike. The annual Yosemite Facelift, by the by, will coincide with the day, but you can definitely find a volunteer meet-up near you, or fairly close, at least. And a lot are happening outside the national parks, too. So, are you ready to pocket the cash you'd give the ranger at the gate? And savor the first Saturday of autumn in nature? And maybe be a part of the roll-up-the-sleeves spirit of National Public Lands Day? The time is now. And congrats, dear adventurer, if you're trying to visit a park during every fee-free day of 2015. That is a good goal and not out of reach.

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