NEWS | April 3, 2012

National Park Week features free admission, nationwide events

By Kathy Kupper National Park Service Public Affairs

The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, invite people everywhere to enjoy, explore, learn, share and give back to America's nearly 400 national parks during National Park Week 2012.

Celebrating the theme, "Picture Yourself in a National Park," National Park Week will run April 21 through Sunday, April 29. Throughout the country, visitors can enjoy the beauty and wonder of 84 million acres of the world's most spectacular scenery, historic places and cultural treasures for free.

There are seven national parks, monuments and historic sites in South Carolina to choose from: the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, The Congaree National Park, Cowpens National battlefield, Fort Sumter National Monument, Kings Mountain National Military Park, Ninety Six National Historic Site and Overmountain Victory national Historic Trail.

National parks will mark the annual celebration with special events and activities including Volunteer Day April 21, Earth Day April 22 and Junior Ranger Day April 28. From ranger-led hikes and kayak trips to camping and exploring, park visitors can plan their National Park Week at www.nationalparkweek.org. Discover information about events, special activities for visitors of all ages, how to share your park adventure with other travelers and how to support the parks.

"America's national parks have something for everyone," said National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. "Take a break and experience something new, enjoy some fresh air, get some exercise and see where history happened. And, since admission is free to all 397 parks all week long, National Park Week is a great time to get up, get out, and explore a park."

"This is our annual celebration of America's best idea - our national parks," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "We are proud to stand with our partners at the National Park Service and encourage people everywhere to enjoy, learn from and support our nation's greatest treasures."