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2012 Free National Park Days Start Jan. 14

Planning a trip or thinking of making a day visit to a national park? The National Park Service has 17 free days for your planning pleasure.

Monday is Muir Woods' 104th birthday, when President Theodore Roosevelt declared it America's 10th national monument on Jan. 9, 1908.

It seems an excellent occasion to remind residents that the National Park Service has announced free entrance days at 100 parks across the country on 17 days in 2012, including parks closest to Bay Area residents, Muir Woods and the Pinnacles National Monument.

The first fee-free days are during the weekend of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Since adult entrance fees just went up from $5 to $7 at Muir Woods, so it's nice to have a free day, particularly if this is just a day trip.

Muir Woods National Monument, near Mill Valley, and the Pinnacles National Mounument, outside of Hollister, can be a day trip. 

Muir Woods is the only old-growth redwood forest in the San Francisco Bay Area (though some old-growth redwoods were recently identified in the huge parcel called the CEMEX Redwoods above Davenport, purchased in December by a consortium of non-profit organizations, including the Los Altos-based Sempervirens Fund).

The following dates are fee free:

• January 14-16 Martin Luther King Jr. weekend
• April 21-29 National Park Week
• June 9 Get Outdoors Day
• September 29 National Public Lands Day
• November 10-12 Veterans Day weekend

In California alone, there are ten parks participating:

California
Cabrillo National Monument
Death Valley National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lava Beds National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument
Pinnacles National Monument
Sequoia National Park
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
Yosemite National Park

You can click on the National Park Service's site for a list of parks by state.

Park partners, such as the concessionaires that run lodging or tours within some parks, are also joining with special offers.

National Park Hospitality Association

Jared Hu January 10, 2012 at 07:27 PM
good to know, thanks!
Claudia Cruz (Editor) January 10, 2012 at 10:59 PM
You are welcomed. I plan to head to one of them. I had never been to a National Park until I moved to California and now I have to really catch up! Also, the vistas are spectacular!

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