On Sunday, August 25, 2013, you can enjoy free admission to hundreds of national park sites throughout the United States. That amounts to an average savings of $25 per car, and lifetime admission passes are available for $10 to anyone aged 62 or older ($20 by mail).

The history of our national parks is a long and varied one. In The National Park Service: A Brief History by Barry Mackintosh (1999), we learn:

The national park concept is generally credited to the artist George Catlin. On a trip to the Dakotas in 1832, he worried about the impact of America's westward expansion on Indian civilization, wildlife, and wilderness. They might be preserved, he wrote, “by some great protecting policy of government… in a magnificent park…. A nation's park, containing man and beast, in all the wild and freshness of their nature's beauty!”

If it weren't for the foresight shown by leaders over a century ago, we would not be able to enjoy this amazing legacy of natural beauty. For millions of city dwellers, our national parks are one of the only ways they can make a meaningful connection with nature, a connection that, at least for me, is critical to my inner balance and peace.

Here's a link to get more information about the “Free Entrance Days”  http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.

Of the national parks I've visited, I believe Zion National Park in Utah is my favorite. What's yours? Tell us in the comment box below.


Photo Credit: “Blue Ridge Mountain Morning” by Appalachian Views Photography via BigStockPhoto.
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