The next couple of years will be big for national parks in North America – both the U.S. and Canada – marked by celebrations and, even better, free access!
On August 25, 2016, the U.S. National Park Service turns 100 and a number of initiatives have been launched, both to mark a century of nature stewardship and to anticipate what will be needed for the next 100 years. In Canada, where the confederation fetes its 150th birthday in 2017, admission to all national parks will be free that year.
Find Your Park in the U.S.
To kick off this year of nature-appreciation in the U.S., the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation launched Find Your Park, a movement to inspire people to connect with, enjoy and support America’s national parks. Aimed at current park-goers and, especially, the next generation of visitors, Find Your Park endeavors to showcase the country’s 400-plus national parks and monuments, as well as their community-based recreation, conservation and historic preservation programs. To help spread the word – and encourage more people to find their parks – all park lovers should share a #FindYourPark story on the website and then spread the word through social media.
In parallel with this initiative, the Obama Administration created the Every Kid In A Park program, which encourages America’s youth to explore and appreciate the nation’s beauty, rich history and diverse culture. It does this by granting fourth graders (and their families) one year of free access to 2,000 federally managed lands, waters and historic sites. A complementary campaign aspires to build the next generation of cultural and environmental stewards. The campaign appeals to everyone to take a pledge to get #EveryKidInAPark and display a badge in support of the campaign.
With so many support programs in place, park attendance is already on the rise, especially in the most popular parks and during the 16 free entrance days in 2016. Only six of those days remain – August 25-28 (National Park Service’s 100th birthday), September 24 (National Public Lands Day) and November 11 (Veterans Day).
Free Park Entry in Canada in 2017
As part of a country-wide commemoration of Canada’s 150 years of confederation, the Canadian government has decided to grant free access throughout 2017 to all of the Canadian national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas operated by Parks Canada, as well as free lockage for recreational boaters on historic canals and waterways. This is true for all visitors, both domestic and foreign.
Using HomeExchange to Make It Happen
If you live near any national park, then you know how easy and satisfying it is to step out your door for an easy day trip into nature. Now, with HomeExchange you make yourself at home near other national parks too.
With 2016 and 2017 shaping up to be auspicious years for the discovery of great preserved landscapes, here are some top park destinations to consider and links to HomeExchange Listings in their vicinity.
In the United States:
* Yosemite National Park (check out our 150+ Listings in central California)
* Yellowstone National Park (check out our 100+ Listings around northwestern Wyoming)
* Grand Canyon National Park (check out our 100+ Listings around northern Arizona)
* Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (check out our 175+ Listings on the Island of Hawai’i)
* Olympic National Park (check out our 500+ Listings in northwestern Washington)
* Acadia National Park (check out our 50+ Listings in coastal Maine)
* Banff National Park (check out our 100+ Listings in central Alberta)
* Bruce Peninsula National Park (check out our 100+ Listings in southern Ontario)
* Cape Breton Highlands National Park (check out our 50+ Listings in Nova Scotia)
* Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (check out our 200+ Listings in southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia)