Grand Canyon celebrates National Public Lands Day Sept. 30

Park to waive entrance fees, offer multicultural dance performance

View of the layered canyon walls from Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon.

Erin Ford/WGCN

View of the layered canyon walls from Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon.

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — Grand Canyon National Park will join national park sites around the country in celebrating National Public Lands Day with free entrance to the park.

Entrance fees will be waived Sept. 30 for all visitors arriving to Grand Canyon National Fee-free days give more families opportunities to visit national park sites and enjoy the country’s historical, cultural and natural resources.

Park staff invite visitors to participate in daily ranger programs at the North Rim and Grand Canyon Visitor Center, Yavapai Geology Museum, Verkamps Visitor Center, Desert View Watchtower and Tusayan Museum.

To celebrate National Public Lands Day and Hispanic Heritage Month, Flagstaff’s Ballet Folklorico de Colores will do a special presentation Sept. 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Hopi Stage in Grand Canyon Village.

Rangers also remind visitors that fall marks the beginning of the rut season for large mammals in the park like elk and deer. During this time, bull elk and deer can become aggressive toward humans. Park staff suggest visitors view all wildlife, especially elk and deer, from a safe distance. Stay at least 50 feet away from small mammals, birds and reptiles and 100 feet away from deer, elk and condors. Drivers should pull off the road completely to safely view wildlife and avoid motor vehicle accidents.  More information about safely viewing and photographing wildlife can be found at https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/wildlifephotography.

Another way to view wildlife safely is through binoculars. An important bird area, the park serves as a migratory route and experiences one of the largest concentrations of migrating raptors and songbirds in the fall. Every September through October, Hawk Watch International volunteers observe and record migratory raptors passing through Grand Canyon. Every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Yaki Point, visitors can learn about the ongoing effort to monitor long-term trends in raptor populations and how to identify raptors.

Those visiting the park Sept. 30 are encouraged to take advantage of the Tusayan Shuttle bus, as parking may be difficult to find after 10 a.m. The Tusayan Shuttle bus route, available at 20 minute intervals between 8 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. daily, provides expedited entry into the park.

To board the shuttle in Tusayan, visitors must have a valid park pass, which can be purchased at the National Geographic Visitor Center. Parking for the Tusayan shuttle bus can be found anywhere in Tusayan, including the Best Western Squire Inn, Grand Hotel, Big E Steakhouse, IMAX/R.P.’s Stage Stop, and the park-and-ride lot on the north end of town (by the second roundabout).

Park visitors are reminded that the fee-free designation applies to entrance fees only and does not affect fees for camping, reservations, tours, or use of concessions. Park entrance stations will have Interagency Senior and Annual Passes available for those who wish to purchase them. Those who plan to spend time in the park beyond Sept. 30 will need to pay the regular entrance fee for the remainder of their stay.

The next fee-free day will be Nov. 11-12 in honor of Veterans Day Weekend.

 Many of Arizona’s other national and state parks have also waived entrance fees in honor of National Public Lands Day. The Kaibab and Coconino National Forests will also offer free access to trails and day use sites across Coconino County.

National Public Lands Day volunteer events are happening in all three Coconino National Forest ranger districts. These events present families and visitors with opportunities to lend a helping hand to public lands staff.

More information about volunteer events can be found by calling (928) 527-3600.

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