Free access to national treasures? Yes. The National Wildlife Refuge System and National Parks Service have allotted fee-free days in 2016 to further entice visitation.
Fee-Free Days 2016
National Wildlife Refuges
January 18 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 13-15 – Presidents’ Day Weekend
September 24 – National Public Lands Day
October 9 – First Sunday of National Wildlife Refuge Week
November 11-13 – Veterans Day weekend
National Parks Service
Jan. 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
April 16–24: National Park Week
Aug. 25–28: National Park Service Birthday
Sept. 24: National Public Lands Day
Nov. 11: Veterans Day
As America grows increasingly urban, it becomes even more important to seek out the unparalelled access to nature offered by Texas’ 18 National Wildlife Refuge System sites and 16 National Park Service’s locations. Older generations may take it for granted that these outlets are available, but there are newer generations coming up that may well be missing that natural connection.
The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the nation’s premier habitat conservation network, encompassing more than 150 million acres in 563 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. Most refuges admit the public free year-round, but a few normally charge a small entrance fee to cover maintenance and visitor services.
“National wildlife refuges are American treasures — public lands dedicated to the conservation of native wildlife and their habitats,” says Refuge System Chief Cynthia Martinez. “Refuges protect species as diverse as alligators, whooping cranes and monarch butterflies. They also provide unique places to hunt, fish, observe nature and simply enjoy the outdoors. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a regular refuge-goer, a fee-free day is a great time to stop by.”
Refuges do more than conserve wildlife and provide outdoor recreation: they help protect against erosion and flooding and purify our air and water. They also support regional economies to the tune of some $2.4 billion annually.
Entrance fee waiver do not cover concessionaire or permit fees for some activities such as hunting, fishing or special tours.
National Park Services
In honor of its 100th birthday, the National Park Service is offering 16 fee-free days in 2016 for all NPS sites that typically charge entrance fees.
The fee-free days help visitors explore a new site or return to an old favorite, and find respite with a healthy doses of nature, culture and history.
The fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. It does not include reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties.
Fee-free days make parks accessible to more people. However, national parks are always economical, with entrance fees that range from $3 to $30. In addition, any fourth grade student can get a free annual pass through the Every Kid in a Park program, and active duty military and citizens with a permanent disability can also get free passes. For more information about the variety of discounted passes available, please visit the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass page.