WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, and the National Park Service are inviting people everywhere to experience the beauty and wonder of America’s nearly 400 national parks for free during National Park Week 2011, which officially began April 16 and runs until April 24.
Celebrating “Healthy Parks, Healthy People,” national parks across the country are encouraging people to come visit, get outdoors, and embrace a healthy lifestyle, while also embracing the importance of keeping our parks protected and preserved.
“Our national parks give people everywhere a fun and adventurous way to get outdoors, get active and get fit,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “Our nation is blessed with nearly 400 national parks — and they all belong to you. Join the National Park Foundation in showing your support. Take time this week to get out, visit, and experience these treasured places.”
Throughout the week, people are encouraged to share their National Park Week stories, photos, and videos online at http://www.facebook.com/nationalpark. In addition, The National Park Foundation will be giving away daily prizes including park passes, outdoor gear, and a trip to Shenandoah National Park with the “I Heart Parks” promotion running April 18 – April 22. Visit http://www.facebook.com/nationalpark for more information.
In honor of National Park Week, national parks across the country will be celebrating with special events. Information can be found at www.nationalparkweek.org. Just some of the free activities taking place this week across the nation include:
* Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve (Louisiana): Monday, April 18, 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Take an hour-long stroll along the Mississippi River levee for an overview of New Orleans history. 25 free tickets are distributed at 9:00 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis at the French Quarter Visitor Center, 419 Decatur Street, New Orleans.
* Biscayne National Park (Florida): Tuesday, April 19, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Explore Biscayne National Park’s mangrove shoreline on a leisurely paddle to learn about mangroves, manatees, fish and more.
* Amistad National Recreation Area (Texas): Wednesday, April 20, 8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Join a ranger and volunteers for a bird walk below the Amistad Dam.
* Muir Woods National Monument (California): Thursday, April 21 (John Muir’s birthday), 8:00 a.m.
Start the morning off with a quiet walk through what John Muir called “the best tree-lover’s monument in all the forests of the world.”
* Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio): Friday, April 22 (Earth Day), 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Celebrate Earth Day with a 5-mile hike on Ledges area trails and learn how organizations and individuals worked together to plant seeds of conservation in the Cuyahoga Valley.
* Jewel Cave National Monument (South Dakota): Saturday, April 23 (Junior Ranger Day), 9:00 a.m.
Young visitors and their families are invited to take a guided hike on the one-quarter mile Roof Trail and learn about the second longest cave in the world.
Visit www.nationalparkweek.org for more information on National Park Week including a full listing of events, get free national park travel guides, details on how you can share your park adventure with other travelers, and information about how you can support the parks.
Whether it is during National Park Week, or any other day of the year, it is the generous support of individuals, foundations and corporations that allow the National Park Foundation to continue its Congressionally-chartered mission to support and protect America’s treasured national parks. Give today at www.nationalparks.org to the National Park Foundation and your gift will be matched up to $50,000! With your help we can provide the necessary support to America’s nearly 400 national parks.
The National Park Foundation is proud to recognize Aramark Parks and Destinations, Bank of America, Energizer, Peace Cereal and The North Face for their support of National Park Week.
About the National Park Foundation
You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites – all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks. Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks. We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow.
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