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National Park Service Waives Some Park Fees

By Ed O'Keefe

There will be no entrance fees at national parks including Yellowstone National Park on three weekends this summer. (Post)

Always wanted to visit Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon? This summer you can do so for free.

The National Park Service will waive park fees on three weekends this summer in an effort to provide affordable vacation options to Americans impacted by the economic downturn.

Under the plan, visitors will not have to pay at the 147 of 391 national park sites that usually charge admission prices during the weekends of June 20-21, July 18-19, and August 15-16, 2009. Park admission prices range from $3 to $25. The waiver does not include other fees for camping, reservations, tours and concessions sales. Other nearby business -- including hotels, restaurants, gift shops and tour operators -- also will offer discounts and promotions.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the plan today at a press conference at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio as part of a four-day Midwestern tour by Cabinet secretaries to communities impacted by the auto industry's collapse. Eight Cabinet secretaries and other senior administration officials will visit Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin between today and Friday. Salazar noted that most Americans live less than a day's drive from a national park; the national park system saw more than 275 million visits last year.

Today's announcement follows last month's high-profile, televised announcement that the Park Service will reopen the crown of the Statue of Liberty to visitors on July 4.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 2, 2009; 12:32 PM ET
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EXCELLENT! Now I can finally bring my gun in for free!....

Posted by: capsfan55 | June 3, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

As a Vietnam War veteran denied employment opportunity in the United States since 1968, I viewed the entry fees to the national parks as exhorbitant, and they kept me out. Now that non-veterans who formerly earned large salaries are having financial problems, the government eliminates the fees. Typical! Americans already pay for the parks through their income taxes. The Department of the Interior is another crooked federal agency double-dipping at the expense of the citizens since it introduced fees under Bush and Clinton.

Posted by: cwheckman | June 3, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Speaking for myself as a veteran, I feel compelled to add a bit of information for a previous postee.
1. The park system has had a fee system for much longer than the reign of the Bushs and Clintons. ( )
2. The story clearly points out that is only for 3 (THREE) weekends.
3. Exhorbitant fees. For what you get when you visit these places, it is worth much more than the price of admission. If you are a DAV then there are programs for you to receive reduced (or waived) entry fees.
4. Not only high salaried non-vets use the parks. This program is for everyone. Do you really think that waiving a $20 entry fee for three weekends in a summer is going to matter to "non-veterans who formerly earned large salaries"?
Chin up, you can finally go to the parks without the fees that kept you out all these years.

Posted by: rodeokeith | June 5, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

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