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Posted at 11:40 AM ET, 01/ 5/2011

National Park Service announces fee-free days

By Ed O'Keefe

Would you like to fish at Yellowstone National Park for free? This year, you can. (The Post)

Want to visit a National Park this year but don't want to pay the entrance fees? Then plan to visit on any one of 17 days in 2011.

About 147 of the 394 parks and historic sites operated by the National Park Service charge admission fees ranging from $3 to $25. Fees will be waived on the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 15-17), National Park Week (April 16-24), the first day of summer (June 21), National Public Lands Day (September 24), and the weekend of Veterans Day (November 11-13), the National Park Service said Wednesday.

Several park concession stands and stores will also offer discounts on fee free days.

The Park Service has held several fee-free days in the past two years as a way of providing cost-friendly vacation options for American families during the economic downturn.

"Our fee-free days will give families many opportunities to enjoy our nation's heritage and natural beauty in meaningful and affordable ways," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement Wednesday.

But the program has yielded mixed results and no noticeable uptick in visitors, park supervisors and agency officials admit privately.

Do you plan to visit a national park this year? Which one is your favorite?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 5, 2011; 11:40 AM ET
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