To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), tomorrow, Wednesday, August 4, has been designated as the “Great American Outdoors Day.” The Department of the Interior is marking the occasion by waiving entrance fees today at all public lands managed by the Department. (Fees, such as overnight camping, cabin rentals, and group day or special use remain in effect.)
This summer is especially busy on many public lands. While most of the 423 national parks are open, visitors may find limited services in and around national parks. Check individual park websites or download the NPS App for specific details. Learn more about alternatives to popular parks on the Interior’s blog.
“I invite all Americans to experience the beauty and bounty of our nation’s public lands – not just on August 4 but every day of the year,” commented Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. Remaining entrance fee–free dates in 2021 are: August 25, National Park Service Birthday; September 25, National Public Lands Day; and November 11, Veterans Day.
Can’t get to a National Park? Consider backyarding. According to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), backyarding is the act of using the yard to safely (in the COVID-19 pandemic era) engage in everyday activities including, but not limited to: social gatherings, celebrating milestones/holidays, working, studying, playing, exercising, and relaxing. “Your own backyard is nearly limitless with possibilities, and homeowners got really creative as they expanded and enjoyed their yards over the last year,” said Kris Kiser, President & CEO of OPEI and the TurfMutt Foundation back in February. “We predict, long after the COVID-19 pandemic passes, our yards will become an even greater part of our lives. The notion of ‘backyarding’ is here to stay.” In 2020, home improvements – many of them in the backyard – skyrocketed, reported OPEI. This, of course, is good news for landscapers, who have seemed equally busy in 2021 helping clients create fabulous outdoor spaces. Just remember to get out and enjoy the Great American outdoors—be it national or personal—yourself this summer!