Free access expands in the great outdoors

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. Forest Service lands include 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands, offering not only hiking and camping, but kids’ activities like Discover the Forest and the Junior Snow Ranger program. 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...

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