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Free admission and festivities during National Park Week April 16-24
National Park Service encouraging Americans to #FindYourPark and celebrate park centennial during National Park Week and Earth Day April 22

National Park Week April 16 - 24 offers free entrance to national parks around the country. Photo/WGCN

National Park Week April 16 - 24 offers free entrance to national parks around the country. Photo/WGCN

WASHINGTON - As the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates 100 years of protecting and preserving the nation's parks and monuments, it's encouraging all Americans to get out and #FindYourPark. During National Park Week, April 16 - 24, all NPS entrance fees will be waived and national parks are encouraging the public to choose a park and discover what makes it unique.

Grand Canyon National Park will also offer fee free days for those nine days. The park will have regularly scheduled ranger walks and talks and will celebrate the 46th anniversary of Earth Day with an open-house style celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 22 at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center Plaza.

This year's activities for Earth Day will focus on water, including conservation, quality and encouraging people to develop a broader understanding of water.

Throughout the year, and especially during National Park Week, the NPS and the National Park Foundation are inviting everyone to discover and share their own unique connections to public lands.

"We have an amazing variety of special events taking place during the centennial," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "Some commemorate our first 100 years, but many others look to the future, to the next 100 years, and will help connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates. It is through them that America's lands and stories will be preserved and passed on to future generations."

"With free admission to parks all week long, National Park Week is the perfect opportunity to check out a new location, revisit one of your favorite parks, and perhaps invite a friend who has never visited a park before to join you," said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks. "It's a great time to experience and celebrate our parks and historic places, and discover and share with each other how these treasured places are vital and relevant to people from all backgrounds from all over the country."

National Park Week will kick off with National Junior Ranger Day April 16. Parks will host kid oriented activities and distribute the new centennial Junior Ranger booklet and badge. Throughout the week, many parks will also host Every Kid in a Park events, which encourage fourth grade students to visit national parks and other public lands by offering a free annual pass.

Other highlights during the week include an education summit April 20, Earth Day events April 22, a national park InstaMeet April 23, and Park RxDay April 24. Park Rx is a community health initiative where medical doctors 'prescribe' time in parks to promote wellness and help prevent and treat chronic disease. More than a dozen national parks will offer health screenings and recreational activities, including an event with the U.S. surgeon general.

More information about National Park Week activities throughout the country is available at www.FindYourPark.com.

Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque is a public awareness and education movement to inspire people from all backgrounds to connect with, celebrate, and support America's national parks and community-based programs that help revitalize communities and commemorate local heritage.

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