National Park Service celebrates 105 years, park fees waived


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Visitors have been enjoying American national parks for more than 100 years and Aug. 25 marks the National Park Service‘s 105th anniversary. To celebrate, NPS has waived entrance fees for everyone to enjoy.

Tennessee is home to 13 national parks with more than 9.6 million annual visitors.

National parks across the country – all 423 of them – are hosting in-park programs and virtual experiences.

NPS waives park entrance fees only six days out of this year: the National Park Service birthday (Aug. 25), National Public Lands Day (Sept. 25), Veterans Day (Nov. 11), the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. (Jan. 18), the first day of National Park Week (April 17), and the 1-year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act (Aug. 4).

According to NPS, in 2020, 237 million park visitors spent an estimated $14.5 billion in local gateway regions while visiting National Park Service lands across the country. This supported a total of 234,000 jobs, $9.7 billion in labor income, $16.7 billion in value added, and $28.6 billion in economic output in the national economy.

While there aren’t any listed events on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park calendar, Wednesdays are vehicle-free for Cades Cove, which means visitors can hike or bike the area.

Officials with GSMNP said on Wednesday that while there are currently no planned special programs in celebration of the NPS birthday, they welcome park visitors to celebrate the occasion by making a visit to their closest National Park Unit.

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