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Fees waived at national parks on Veterans Day

By Ed O'Keefe

The government will not charge entrance fees next Wednesday at national parks, refuges and forests in honor of Veterans Day, the fourth time this year the government has opened up the areas for free.

“The sacrifices and achievements of the brave men and women of our armed forces can never be understated," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement. "We invite all of our visitors to enjoy this fee free day and take time out on this national holiday to remember our service men and women who are currently serving overseas in harms way. ”

The National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Forest Service operate the national parks, refuges and forests. The Park Service operates more than 400 locations and the Forest Service has oversight for roughly 193 acres of land, or an area equivalent to the size of Texas.

The National Park Service waived fees for the first time over three summer weekends this year, an experiment that yielded mixed results. The fee-free weekends cost the agency $750,000 to $1 million in lost revenue each day.

Despite the financial loss, officials estimate a 4 to 5 percent increase in national park visits this year over 2008, due in part to the approximately 2.6 million people who crowded the Mall for President Obama's inauguration.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 3, 2009; 12:18 PM ET
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Didn't Secretary Salazar mean "can never be overstated"?

Posted by: newflu | November 5, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

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