Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, April 04

Grand Canyon to waive entrance fee on National Public Lands Day

Students harvesting grasses (Courtesy photo).

Students harvesting grasses (Courtesy photo).

GRAND CANYON-All National Park Service sites, including Grand Canyon National Park, will offer free visitor admission on Saturday, Sept. 29 for National Public Lands Day (NPLD).

In recognition of NPLD, entrance fees and commercial tour fees will be waived at Grand Canyon National Park. Recreation "user fees" such as backcountry permit fees, camping fees and fees for other activities offered in the parks will not be waived.

Free entry passes issued at Grand Canyon National Park on NPLD to commercial tour operators will be valid only for that individual tour. Free entry passes issued to single visit entries issued on NPLD will be valid for one day on both the North and South rims of Grand Canyon. Receipts are only valid for Saturday, Sept. 29.

In addition to waiving entrance fees, national parks and other public lands will host special programs and volunteer work parties to commemorate the 14th annual event. At Grand Canyon National Park, volunteers and park staff will be assisting the park's Vegetation Program with projects in both the Hermit Road and the South Entrance Station areas in advance of upcoming construction projects. Crews will be salvaging native plants with shovels and hand tools, potting them, and then transporting them to our native plant nursery. The native plant species to be salvaged include pinyon pine, juniper, blue grama grass, mutton grass, penstemon, cliffrose, various cactus species and big-leaf sage, among many others.

Volunteers will also be collecting native seed from the same project areas.

The seed, as well as the plants, will be stored at the park's native plant nursery until both the Hermit Road Rehabilitation Project and the South Entrance Bypass Lane Project are completed in November of 2008, when the native species can be replanted. This project is a great opportunity for the public to be involved with a major restoration project within the Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim.

This volunteer event is open to people of all ages and abilities, but it is limited to 15 people and spots are filling rapidly. Park staff will provide tools and gloves. The park will also provide lunches, snacks and a campsite at Mather Campground. Volunteers will need to provide their own close-toed shoes, long pants, water bottles, hat and sunscreen and a backpack. For more information or to sign up for this event at the Grand Canyon, contact Volunteer Coordinator Kari Malen, Grand Canyon Trust, at (928)774-7488 or by email at gcvolunteers@yahoo.com.

Anyone who volunteers on NPLD will receive a free one-day pass valid for future use at any National Park Service site.

"America's public lands showcase the country's spectacular beauty and fascinating history," said National Park Service director Mary A. Bomar. "I encourage everyone to take advantage of this fee free day to explore a national park or lend a hand to help the land."

Nine federal agencies, 125 state and local partners, dozens of non-profit organizations, tens of thousands of individuals, and national sponsor Toyota Motor Sales, USA are expected to participate in more than a thousand volunteer projects across the country. Visit http://www.publiclandsday.org for more information about NPLD.

One third of the land in the United States has been set aside as open space. Six hundred million acres of parks, refuges, forests, wetlands, cultural sites, and other shared areas provide a variety of public resources.

National Public Lands Day is the only time that entrance fees are waived systematically on public lands throughout the country. Normally, 147 of the country's 391 National Park Service sites charge entrance fees ranging from $3 to $25. The other 244 areas do not have entrance fees. U.S. Veterans are admitted to national parks for free each year on Veteran's Day.

The other federal agencies not charging for admittance on NPLD include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Forest Service.

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