TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016 and wants everyone to celebrate! All national parks will waive their entrance fees on 16 special days in 2016.
Those days will be:
- April 16 through 24 – National Park Week
- August 25 through 28 – National Park Service Birthday (and following weekend)
- September 24 – National Public Lands Day
- November 11 – Veterans Day
In addition to these fee free days, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument will be fee free March 5 to host the Arizona Archaeology Expo and November 19 for the American Indian Arts and Music Festival.
"Fee-free days provide an extra incentive to visit a national park, especially during next year's centennial celebration," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "We added extra fee-free days so that everyone has a chance to join the party. With locations in every state, finding a national park is easy. The hard part might be deciding which ones to visit."
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Superintendent Karl M. Pierce stated "we are very excited to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial with park visitors, our community and tribal partners and volunteers. We invite everyone to visit the Monument during this Centennial year to learn about the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People who built the Casa Grande, Sivan Vah Ki, and participate in special events and activities, such as the Arizona Archaeology Expo, Community Centennial Celebration events that we are planning with your community partners, the American Indian Arts and Music Festival, cultural demonstrators, and our annual lecture series. A picnic lunch in our picnic area and outdoor kitchen, an interpretive program or children's program, such as our Junior Ranger Program or new Junior Archaeologist Program, is a great way for families or groups to enjoy the Monument. Celebrate the 100th birthday of your national parks with us."
To honor the National Park Service's centennial, the National Park Foundation has joined the National Park Service to launch a public engagement campaign called Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque to help all Americans discover all the things that national parks can be. Visit www.findyourpark.com or www.EncuentraTuParque.com for a list of Centennial special events across the country and to learn how to discover, explore, recreate, be inspired, or simply have fun in national parks.
Usually, 127 of the 409 National Park Service sites charge entrance fees that range from $3 to $30. The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for things like camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument charges an entrance fee of $5 a person on days that the fees are not waived.
To continue the national park adventure beyond these fee free days, the $80 annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 sites, including all national parks, throughout the year. There are also a variety of free or discounted passes available for senior citizens, current military members, fourth grade students, and citizens who have qualifying disabilities.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument protects the multi-story Great House and the ruins of other ancient structures built by the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People over 800 years ago. Established as the nation's first archeological reserve in 1892, the Ruins sparked the beginning of the archeological preservation movement in America. The Monument is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Directions and additional information are available on the Monument's website, http://www.nps.gov/cagr or call (520) 723-3172, or follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Casa-Grande-Ruins-National-Monument/156409127753466.