National Park Week Is Here. Get Outside and Celebrate with This Full Slate of Activities
Get outside, share your experiences, and most importantly, always follow safety guidelines.
April 17 marks the start of National Park Week, and to celebrate, the National Park Service is kicking off a eight days of activities celebrating the outdoor allure of America’s national treasures.
From now until April 25, the NPS will be hosting an array of special programs, events, and themes to commemorate the nation’s federally owned parks and recreation sites.
Check out what’s in store.
The first day of National Park Week, labeled “International Park Prescription Day,” or ParkRx, will coincide with a day of free entry to any of the nation’s 63 parks.
What better way to promote health and wellness than immersing yourself in some of our planet’s best places?
“Get your dose of nature at home, in the neighborhood, a nearby park or trail, or virtually,” the National Park Service release said. “Then share your experience on social media using #PowerOfParksForHealth and #BeforeAndAfterParkRx and you may be featured in our official National Park Service #BeforeandAfterParkRx photo gallery!”
Get more information about ParkRx’s interactive events here.
The second day of National Park Week is designated as Volunteer Sunday.
Every year, nearly 300,000 people volunteer a total of about 6.5 million hours at America’s national parks, working alongside NPS staff to give tours, assist with scientific research, perform vital clean-ups, offer safety courses, and more.
Those involved with the Volunteers In Parks Program, or appropriately termed “VIPs,” ensure the country’s crown jewels remain just so.
To honor their selflessness, the Park Service is launching a #NPSVolunteer social media initiative to thank volunteers.
Know someone who gives their time and effort to protecting these great lands? Give them a shoutout using the hashtag above. Or better yet, learn how you can take action at nps.gov/volunteer or watch the video below.
Check out what’s in store for Volunteer Sunday here.
Next week kicks off with Military Monday.
The National Park Service is involved in a number of programs that offer opportunities and benefits for veterans and active-duty personnel, including granting free access to all parks and federal recreation areas.
“We’d like to thank you for yours and your family’s military service,” the NPS release said. “Many national parks have direct connections to the American military—there are dozens of battlefields, military parks, and historic sites that commemorate and honor the service of American veterans. … Join us on social media as we thank our military for their service and share your own park experiences using #MilitaryMonday and #NationalParkWeek.”
Learn more about Military Monday here or watch the video below.
Transformation Tuesday is next up, with social media campaigns set up to show both the life-changing impact parks can have on an individual level, as well as the transformative results of conservation efforts on the lands themselves.
“National parks and communities we work with are ever changing, whether it is in nature, history, opportunities to experience places, and our own personal journeys,” the release said.
“Improving infrastructure, incorporating emerging technologies, and advancing conservation efforts have been a traditional part of the national park experience since the beginning.”
Park visitors today enjoy many of the benefits implemented by initiatives such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, which constructed and restored roads, buildings, and lands during the 1930s and ’40s that could be relished for generations.
Learn more about Transformation Tuesday here.
The midway point of National Park Week has been designated “Wayback Wednesday,” a celebration of historical events and lasting memories made in these special places.
Park enthusiasts are encouraged to share old photos, recreate then-and-now images with renewed visits, explore historic locations in local neighborhoods, learn about preservation, or just teach the next generation about the rich history right under their noses.
“Explore the history preserved in national parks while also learning about the ongoing efforts of the National Park Service and partners to preserve America’s cultural treasures in communities across the country,” the release said. “Maybe even share the history of your family and friends visiting national parks.”
To no surprise, April 22 will kick off a celebration of Earth Day, a great time to learn how we can all become better stewards of our incredible third rock from the Sun.
Earth Day experiences and memories will be shared, as will information on the Park Service’s ongoing partnerships designed to maximize connected conservation.
Check out what the National Park Service has in store for Earth Day 2021 here, and watch the video below to enjoy spoken word poetry by three New York teens embarking on a deeper understanding of their intimate bond with the Earth.
Coined “Friendship Friday,” the National Park Service is dedicating April 23 to thanking individuals, groups, and organizations—from the local to national level—who make the park system what it is.
“The community of partners includes engaged citizens, passionate volunteers, cooperating associations, concessions, civic groups, or philanthropies all of whom share our mission,” the release said.
Invite friends to volunteer or support this network of partners while sharing what destination you’d most like to visit with a special someone. Post a story of friendship, personal or not, that has inspired you. And share photos to social media (don’t forget to tag your friends).
And of course, explore ways you can partner with the National Park Service
Dedicate the second to last day of National Park Week to the kids by exploring the Junior Ranger Program, a great way to learn about nature, night skies, and best practices to keep our parks pristine—adults can join, too.
“The NPS Kids Portal is where to start your virtual national park experience and participate in fun activities and special online programs for the whole family,” the release said.
“Check out online and printable activities along with virtual tours, videos, and webcams from national parks all across the country.” And collect virtual badges along your way to becoming a junior ranger.
Check out all the exciting ways you can enjoy the Park Service alongside family here.
There aren’t many better ways to enjoy a national park than alongside a four-legged companion.
To round out National Park Week, the Park Service is honoring furry friends by making them members of the BARK Ranger pack, pending, of course, their commitment to the acronym-specific best practices of:
- Bagging your pet’s waste
- Always leashing your pet
- Respecting wildlife
- Knowing where you can go
Pet owners are encouraged to share their best friend experiences on social media using #BarkRanger and #NationalParkWeek. Learn more about pet-centric activities here.
However you intend to observe National Park Week, there are certainly no shortage of activities. So, get outside, share your experiences, and most importantly, always follow safety guidelines.
You can also keep up with National Park Week through the Park Service’s all new comprehensive app, one that streamlines the visitor experience at any of the nation’s 423 NPS locations by consolidating information on hiking trails, lodging, news alerts, dining options, and much more.
Read the 2021 Gardening Issue
To read: Click on the right and left arrows at the edge of the box to turn pages; to make the text larger, click on the fullscreen icon in the lower-right corner (desktop) or in the center (mobile).