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National parks offer free entry for Presidents Day weekend

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. — To celebrate the connections between national leaders and national parks, all 401 National Park Service sites will have free admission during Presidents Day weekend, February 15-17. It is a wonderful time of year to visit Death Valley National Park, with its warm temperatures and promise of spring flowers.

“Every U.S. president has visited, resided in, or been honored in a national park,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Sites such as George Washington’s birthplace, Ulysses Grant’s battlefields and Jimmy Carter’s farm provide insight into the character of the men who have governed our country. Visit a national park and walk in their footsteps. See where they lived and learned, relaxed and recharged, experienced triumphs and tribulations.”

In addition to free entrance, many parks will host special events to celebrate the holiday weekend, including the unveiling of new permanent exhibits at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in Iowa. Visit the Presidents Day page on www.nps.gov for a calendar of events as well as travel itineraries and lesson plans about the presidents.

Take the advice of Theodore Roosevelt — perhaps the president most associated with national parks — and visit one of America’s special places. In his words, “There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.”

The National Park Service will also waive admission fees on five additional days in 2014: the first weekend of National Park Week (April 19 and 20), the National Park Service’s 98th birthday (August 25), National Public Lands Day (September 27) and Veterans Day (November 11).

National park passes that provide free or discounted admission year-round are available for active duty military members and their dependents, senior citizens, and people with permanent disabilities.

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