Big Bear Lake, CA, January 14, 2013 – Americans get free access to 98 percent of national forests and grasslands, and about two-thirds of developed recreation sites. That leaves approximately 6,000 sites nationwide that require fees, which are used to provide visitor services and facilities maintenance. On four days this year, however, those fees will be waived. The first day is January 21st, to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The U.S. Forest Service is offering the fee-free days to support President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative that aims to establish a 21st-century conservation and recreation agenda. In discussions across the nation, Americans made it clear they want to connect with the great outdoors – and they want the government’s help.
The 2013 fee-free days the Forest Service will participate in are:
- Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- June 8, National Get Outdoors Day
- Sept. 28, National Public Lands Day
- Nov. 9-11, Veterans Day Weekend
Concessionaires who operate campgrounds and other amenities may choose whether to participate in the fee-free days. Contact campgrounds for more information.
The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Forest Service lands contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $27 billion per year.