Free National Parks Weekends!

Interior Secretary Salazar hopes to boost local economies by waiving park fees
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Interior Secretary Salazar hopes to boost local economies by waiving park fees

Everything tastes better when it's free—even national parks. If you've put off buying that national parks pass so far in hopes of catching a break, you just got lucky: This summer, the National Park Service will waive fees for three weekends: June 20-21, July 18-19, and August 15-16. 

In addition to encouraging park visitation, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar hopes that the free weekends will provide a boost to communities and local business in or near national parks. Salazar made the announcement at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio.

"National parks also serve as powerful economic engines for local communities, and we hope that promoting visitation will give a small shot in the arm to businesses in the area," Salazar said.

All 147 units in the park system will drop fees (which range from $3 to $25), which means you can spend your hard-earned cash on plush animals or "native art" in a gateway town instead. Park officials expect higher visitation this summer, and it could peak during these weekends, so you best head for the backcountry. For trails, trips, and more, go here.

—Ted Alvarez

National parks offer fee-free weekends (CNN)