backpacking in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

August 4th Is Now ‘Great American Outdoors Day’: NPS Announces Free Park Holiday

To celebrate the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act, the National Park Service will provide free entrance to all parks as part of a new holiday.

President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law today, August 4. The act will provide crucial funding to U.S. national parks and public lands, and you can learn more about it here.

In short, the act is a bipartisan victory for public lands. It will address a massive backlog of maintenance projects and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

It’s such a big deal that, in commemoration, the NPS offers the public free entrance to all of America’s national parks tomorrow, August 5, 2020.

Further, every year henceforth, August 4 will be recognized as an NPS holiday. That means that each year on August 4, you can visit parks for free.

“President Trump has just enacted the most consequential dedicated funding for national parks, wildlife refuges, public recreation facilities and American Indian school infrastructure in U.S. history,” said Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt in a press release.

“I’ve designated August 4th as Great American Outdoors Day and waived entrance fees to celebrate the passage of this historic conservation law.”

Free National Parks: Where to Visit

There are 109 national parks, sites, and monuments that charge entrance fees. The other 310 national parks don’t have entrance fees and are free year-round to visit. To find the full list of free NPS holidays, click here.

In its release, the NPS reiterated the landmark nature of the legislation, which received broad bipartisan support in its passage through the Senate and House of Representatives. The law earmarks $9.5 billion over 5 years to fund maintenance backlogs for many public lands such as national parks. At the same time, it fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund to the tune of $900 million a year, through oil and gas lease royalties.

“The investment will pay dividends. Public lands are an important contributor to a strong and growing outdoor recreation economy that benefits states and local communities,” the NPS said in its release.

“National parks have been experiencing record-breaking attendance in recent years, including hosting 328 million visitors in 2019. National park visitor spending supports nearly 330,000 jobs and contributes more than $40 billion annually to the national economy, including more than $20 billion in communities surrounding parks.”

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Mary Murphy
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Mary is based out of GearJunkie's Denver, CO office. Her outdoor interests span from climbing to landscape photography to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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