What’s your park story? The National Park Service (NPS) invites you to share your park story during National Park Week 2023. Don’t have one? It’s the perfect time to find adventure, so you have a new tale to tell.
The NPS manages and preserves more than 400 national park sites across the United States. Beginning April 22, 2023, the NPS kicks off a 9-day celebration, National Park Week, honoring some of our most beautiful and historical places. This year, park rangers want to hear your story. It’s your chance to tell the world why a particular national park is meaningful to you.
National Park Week: April 22 – 30, 2023
You can visit a national park most anytime. So, why should you visit during National Park Week? There are a few good reasons.
All national park sites will waive entrance fees for visitors on the celebration’s first day, April 22. You can expect smaller crowds despite National Park Week and potential late spring break visitors. According to NPS statistics, nationwide attendance in April 2022 was 27% less than the visitation averages from May through September, the busy summer season. The NPS and various partners will host events and activities throughout the celebration.
National Parks Offer Free Admission on Earth Day and Other Events Nationwide
What are some of the nationwide events during National Park Week? Leading into the celebration, National Volunteer Week is April 16-22, where the NPS recognizes volunteers who work with park rangers and staff at our parks.
In addition to the free park entrance, April 22 is Earth Day and National Park Rx Day. It is a time to honor our planet, nature’s healing powers, and our connections to the national parks.
April 29 is National Junior Ranger Day when many parks offer programs where children can explore, learn, and protect. Some parks provide online events for families unable to visit during National Park Week. To find the best option for your family to participate, the NPS offers a webpage to search for events by state, type of event, and date.
Find Adventures and Volunteer Opportunities at Your Local Park
Here is a sneak peek at some of the events and activities you can find at your local parks.
Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park will host a birding expedition on April 22, 8:00 am, along the historic Towpath Trail, where visitors can search for early spring migrating birds. The following day at 9:00, the park offers a healthful hike where guests can choose between a 3.0 or 8.0-mile walk. On April 29, 9:00 am, you can participate in a guided tour to search for and identify wildflowers.
Indiana Dunes National Park offers a daily drop-in trash trekkers program where volunteers can help clean the trails and beaches. The park has a different volunteering opportunity on April 22 and April 29 at 9:00 am, where you can assist with gardening at Chellberg Farm. You can join a ranger-led wildflower walk or a history hike on those two days at 1:00 pm. On April 23 and 30, visitors can tour the Chellberg Farm or join a ranger-led hike through Miller Woods to the Lake Michigan shore. The park offers a birding stroll on April 27, 9:00 am.
Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park will celebrate Junior Ranger Day on April 22 with special events. Activities will occur at Dickey Ridge Visitor Center at 11:00 am and Byrd Visitor Center at 10:30, 2:30, and 4:00. Kids can participate in a scavenger hunt and see a park fire engine and a search and rescue vehicle.
Utah’s Zion National Park will hold daily ranger talks at 10:00 am and 2:30 pm and daily guided ranger walks at 1:30 along the beautiful Pa’rus Trail. Visitors will discover diverse landscapes as the primarily paved path traces the Virgin River to Canyon Junction.
Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park will hold a museum demonstration lab from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm every day except Monday and Tuesday. Visitors can chat with paleontologists and observe them cleaning and preserving fossils.
California’s Redwood National and State Parks will host forest walks on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Guests can learn about the giant coastal redwoods during the guided tour.
Tell Your Park Story
The NPS utilizes various social media platforms to provide updates to national park advocates and outdoor enthusiasts. Park staff and rangers will use #YourParkStory when sharing their favorite park memories.
How can you tell your story? Use #MyParkStory from April 22-30 when posting online about your connections to or memories of your favorite park.
To find a national park site in your state or discover a new park to explore, visit the NPS park search page. There are plenty of opportunities to participate in this year’s National Park Week, both online and in person. You could add a chapter to your story.
Featured image credit: ArtTower