ATLANTA, Aug. 24, 2014 — National parks nationwide will be open for free on Aug. 25 in honor of the National Park Service’s 98th birthday.
The free day is one of nine fee-free days the National Park Service has on the calendar in 2014. On the dates, all 401 national parks will offer free admission, though only 133 usually charge admission, according to the National Park Service (NPS).
While entrance, commercial tour and transportation entrance fees are waived on the free days, some fees — such as those collected by third parties — will not be waived. Additional upcoming dates in 2014 with no admission are Sept. 27 in honor of National Public Lands Day and Nov. 11 for Veterans Day.
In addition to waiving fees, a number of parks nationwide will also offer unique programming or special tours.
President Woodrow Wilson on Aug. 25, 1916, signed into law the National Park Service Organic Act. The measure, sponsored by Rep. William Kent, I-Calif., and Sen. Reed Smoot, R-Utah, created the NPS as an agency of the United States Department of the Interior.
Specifically, the NPS was established “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Previously, a number of national parks were protected as National Monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906, which President Theodore Roosevelt signed into law.
President Ulysses S. Grant established Yellowstone National Park as the first national park on March 1, 1872, when he signed The Act of Dedication into law.