(National Park Service News Release) National Park Week, April 16 through 24, encourages everyone to discover something new about their national parks. With more than 400 national parks hosting a mix of special programs, activities, and digital experiences, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation invite all to explore and enjoy national parks during this annual event. The week begins on April 16 with free entrance to every national park.
“Since Yellowstone National Park was established 150 years ago, over 400 extraordinary places have been added to the National Park System,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. “Throughout the country, these sites are sources of inspiration, recreation, and education—each one preserving and sharing a part of our national story. I hope National Park Week provides a spark to visit a nearby national park and make some memories.”
With at least one in every state, national parks provide close-to-home opportunities to engage the senses and experience something different during each visit. Every park has remarkable features and lesser-known gems so consider adding some new places to your bucket list and explore a path less taken.
The best place to start any national park trip is with a stop at NPS.gov or the official NPS app. You can search for parks by state, activity, or topic and get the latest updates and details about each park. Involve the kids in planning your next park visit by using the new online Junior Ranger Park Explorer program “Ready, Set, Go” where they can complete activities and print a badge.
In partnership with the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation and more than 450 park partner groups help support and raise awareness about the full range of national parks across the country, including those off the beaten path.
“National Park Week is a great time to explore a lesser-known site,” said National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth. “In 2021, most park visits occurred in just 25 parks. This National Park Week, try something new. There is so much beauty and cultural heritage to experience in your own backyard.”
The overall theme for National Park Week is “sPark Connections.” Throughout the week, individual theme days highlight various ties that can help ensure the enjoyment of national parks for current and future visitors.
Celebrate with us April 16-24
Saturday, April 16: sPark Discovery National Park Week kicks off with a fee-free day to encourage everyone to find something new by visiting a national park, especially one that may be close to home, a park you haven’t considered visiting, or one you never realized is a national park! What new national park will you discover?
Sunday, April 17: sPark Creativity National parks have inspired artistic expression and creativity for generations. Which park features inspire your creativity?
Monday, April 18: sPark Collaboration Partners and friends expand the reach and offerings of national parks. How can you get involved or participate in opportunities?
Tuesday, April 19: sPark Innovation Long needed and significant investments are being made in national park infrastructure. New technology is helping tackle the climate crisis. What’s new in parks and how will the efforts improve the visitor experience?
Wednesday, April 20: sPark Opportunities Learn about the employment opportunities available in national parks through the federal government and a variety of partner organizations. Are you interested in working with us?
Thursday, April 21: sPark Preservation The National Park Service, park partners, and visitors share in the responsibility to preserve historic, cultural, natural and recreational resources. What role do you play in the recreate responsibly movement?
Friday, April 22: sPark Action On Earth Day we look at the health of the environment and how we impact its wellbeing and vice versa. What actions can we all take to help?
Saturday, April 23: sPark Curiosity Hmm, how did…? Through Junior Ranger programs and other activities, find the answers to questions you have about geology, wildlife, history, or dozens of other topics related to national parks.
Sunday, April 24: sPark Memories Generations of visitors have created life-long memories in national parks. Do you have lasting memories or traditions created during visits to national parks?
A Twitter chat preview of National Park Week will take place on April 14 at 1 p.m. EDT. Join the conversation and share favorite memories, tips and stories about national parks using the hashtag #NationalParkWeek and #sParkConnections. For more information about National Park week, please visit NPS.gov/npweek and nationalparkweek.org.
Photo: Stockton Island beach in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore by Jon Okerstrom