America’s public lands are a tremendous gift and legacy for today’s and future generations. Over 640 million acres, or about 28% of the country’s 2.27 billion acres, are managed for different purposes and to different degrees, providing recreational opportunities, protecting watersheds, air quality, and many other intangible services and benefits to 326 million Americans and countless international visitors.
One of the last best bargains for enjoying and accessing these lands is the annual National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass, also known as the America The Beautiful Pass.
For just $80 this gets you and everyone traveling in a private, non-commercial vehicle into U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and National Park Service sites. I hope the low cost stays that way. Accessing public lands are one of the last affordable options remaining for many people who wish to recreate, escape, chill, take a vacation, you name it with their friends and families.
There are different passes available for veterans, persons with disabilities, seniors and other folks, and these range from free to a lower cost compared to the annual America The Beautiful Pass.
Plus every U.S. fourth grader can get a free Every Kid In A Park pass which allows them to enter over 400 National Park Service sites with their family!
You can learn more about this program at http://www.everykidinapark.gov
My two Montana nephews still rave about when they were in fourth grade and got to present their entrance pass at different places. Their parents feel that having these passes gave them a stronger sense of ownership and stewardship of public lands, and do their part to leave them in better shape for future generations. And that, at the end of the day, is mighty cool!
P.S. There are also four scheduled free National Park Service entrance days in 2019:
Saturday April 20
Saturday August 25 which is the National Park Service’s birthday
Saturday September 29 which is National Public Lands Day
Monday November 11 Veterans Day