National Park Week kicks off with free entrance on April 16

Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert. (BradSutton/NPS)

National Park Service joins the National Park Foundation in celebrating “America’s treasured places” with National Park Week, April 16-24.  To kick off the week, the NPS is opening all its doors with free entrance on Saturday, April 16.

National Park Week

Jimmy Smith explores cliff dwellings of Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. (Julianne G Crane)

The purpose of National Park Week is to encourage Americans “to explore the vast network of our national parks, sacred sites, historical landmarks, as well as our shared heritage contained within them.” One fascinating place for breathtaking views and glimpses into the past is the Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico.

Bandelier Monument protects more than 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country.  Evidence of a human presence goes back over 11,000 years. “Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in the surrounding communities.” Click here for camping information at Bandelier.

All our major National Parks are highly popular destinations. With millions of visitors annually, there are increasing “widespread soil erosion and negative trampling from foot and auto traffic,” writes Christopher Ketcham in his Harper’s article, “The Business of Scenery.”

Therefore, if you are a fan of our national parks consider Getting Involved on your next visit. For more information on volunteering, check out an updated article I posted on

Free entrance days

Other National Park Service’s free entrance days in 2022 are: Aug. 4 (Anniversary of the Great American Outdoor Act).  Sept. 24 (National Public Lands Day). And Nov. 11 (Veterans Day).

*Fee waiver includes entrance fees. It does not cover fees for camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.

Julianne G. Crane

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