Other agencies announce free days

Not only are the National Park Service and other federal agencies proposing to raise entrance fees for use of the public lands, but they have reduced the number of fee-free days from 11 in 2017 to only four in 2018.

The first NPS fee-free day will be next Monday, Jan. 15, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The U.S. Forest Service also will waive entrance fees for MLK day.

NPS will waive entrance fees April 21 for the first day of National Park Week, which the USFS does not honor.

Both agencies will allow visitors to enter free on Sept. 22 for National Public Lands Day and Nov. 11 for Veterans Day. Since Nov. 11 is a Sunday this year, Monday Nov. 12 will be the official national holiday, which is the reason the USFS will eliminate fees both days.

For the year, the USFS will offer six fee-free days compared to the NPS’s four days. The other USFS free days are Feb. 19 for Presidents Day, June 19 for National Get Outdoors Day and Nov. 12, the second day of Veterans Day weekend.

In 2017, NPS offered 11 fee-free days, including Aug. 25 to 28 for the National Park Service Birthday. The USFS offered six fee-free days in 2017, the same as for this year. In 2016, there were five fee-free days. Because Veterans Day fell on a Friday rather than a weekend, there was one less free day than in 2017 and 2018.