National Park Week takes place each spring to celebrate the protected spaces in US communities, and this year's event will run from April 17 to 25.
The week-long celebration encourages people to explore the vast network of national parks, sacred sites and historical landmarks in the country's national parks, as well as the shared heritage contained within them. Co-ordinated by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, every national park will have a free admission day on April 17, known as Park Rx Day.
Each day has a different theme, including VIP (Volunteers in Parks) Sunday (April 18), Military Monday (April 19), Transformation Tuesday (April 20) and Wayback Wednesday (April 21). Earth Day takes place on April 22 and Friendship Friday is the theme for April 23 to celebrate those who help preserve and enhance the national park experience. Junior Ranger Day (April 24) is for young people to connect with the US heritage and landscapes, both virtually and in-person, in fun and engaging ways. Furry friends won't be left out too, as April 25 is Bark Ranger Day, to ensure a pet’s visit to a park is fun and safe.
“The National Park Foundation and our park partners celebrate the full diversity of our parks," says National Park Foundation president and CEO, Will Shafroth. "They come in all shapes and sizes. They are urban and rural, natural and manmade. They each have their own, unique story, perspective and experience to share with all of us that, when taken together, really tell the American story. And each of us has an important role to play in helping to preserve and protect these special places.”
Visitors are asked to recreate responsibly when visiting parks, including following rules requiring masks when physical distancing cannot be maintained. They are also encouraged to explore parks virtually through a variety of online activities. Visit here for further information on the themed days and virtual programming.