The U.S. Forest Service will waive fees at most of its day-use recreation sites several times in 2015, beginning with Jan. 19, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“These fee-free days are our way of thanking our millions of visitors but also to encourage more people to visit these great public lands,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “These lands belong to all Americans, and we encourage everyone to open the door to the great outdoors.”
No fees are charged at any time on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands, and approximately two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free. Check with your local forest or grassland or on Recreation.gov(link is external) to see if your destination charges a fee. Fees are used to help cover the cost of safe, clean facilities. Use the Forest Service map to find a national forest or grassland near you.
The 2015 scheduled fee-free days observed by the Forest Service are:
• Jan. 19: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which honors the legacy of the civil rights leader and encourages Americans to participate in the MLK Day of Service
• Feb. 16: Presidents Day, honoring our nation’s Presidents with particular attention towards commemorating President Washington and President Lincoln.
• June 13: National Get Outdoors Day, a day when federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and the recreation industry encourages healthy, outdoor activities.
• Sept. 26: National Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort in support of public lands
• Nov. 11: Veteran’s Day, commemorates the end of World War I and pays tribute to all military heroes past and present.
Agency units plan their own events. Contact your local forest or grassland for more information. The last fee-free period for 2014 is Nov. 8-11 in honor of Veteran’s Day.
Hiking in the Smokies