Thinking of Visiting a National Park?

Thinking of Visiting a National Park?

Memorial Day signals the beginning of ‘summer’ and summer travels. The national parks will be among the many places people visit.


The National Park Service began as a scattered approach to preserve Americas National Wonders. The first national park, Yellowstone, was signed into law in 1872. It was followed by Sequoia and Yosemite in 1890.

The Organic Act of 1916 created the National Park Service “to conserve scenery and the natural historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations”.

National Parks

The National Park Service is responsible for over 400 sites including:

59  U.S. National Parks

129 U.S. National Monuments

The National Register of Historic Places, which includes:

  •             National Historic Parks and Historic sites
  •             National Battlefields and Military Parks
  •             National Memorials


The most popular park is the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. The second most popular is the Grand Canyon.

Our Western States boast the most parks. California has 9, Alaska has 8, Utah has 5, and Colorado has 4.

In 2016 visitors to the National Parks added $34.9 Billion into the U.S. economy and supported 318,000 jobs. The is an increase of 8% from 2015 – also the celebration of National Parks Services centennial.


It is understandable with that impact in the local economy, why Craters of the Moon is campaigning for National Park status instead of a national monument.

Park Fees

America the Beautiful Passes cover entrance fees, standard amenity fees and day use fees. The pass covers a driver and all passengers in the vehicle at per vehicle fees areas or up to 4 adults at sites that charge per person. Children age 15 and under are admitted free.

The Annual Pass cost is $80 and can be purchased at some site locations, or you may buy on line from a USGS store (

Free annual passes are provided for:

  • Us Military: must show a common access card (CAC) or military ID (form 1173).
  • Persons with permanent disabilities (must provide documentation of disability and residency).
  • Annual Fourth Grade Pass: Valid for 4th grade year (September through August). Available at
  • Senior pass: You must be 62. You can receive a lifetime pass for $10. Applicants need to provide proof of age and residency. You may purchase at the USGS store:  The price has been approved for increase. It is uncertain as to when it will be raised to $80.
  • The National Parks Service does offer FREE entrance DAYS each year.
    • January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. day
    • February 20: Presidents Day
    • April 15-16, 22-23: National Park Week
    • August 25: National Park Service Birthday
    • September 30: National Public Lands Day
    • November 11-12: Veterans Day


If you visit a National Park Service site this summer, be sure and share your pictures on our Facebook page:


If you are passionate about National Parks and would like to volunteer, get more information from the blog post below.













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