National Parks across U.S. offer free entrance on Wednesday

Nation/world
Visitors walk to the Tunnel View lookout in Yosemite Valley at Yosemite National Park on July 08, 2020. (APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

Visitors walk to the Tunnel View lookout in Yosemite Valley at Yosemite National Park on July 08, 2020. (APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

Getting a little stir crazy quarantining at home? Get outside and visit a national park for free today.

A conservation and public lands bill, known as the Great American Outdoors Act, was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law Tuesday by President Trump.

Part of the bill designates August 4 as the “Great American Outdoors Day” every year starting next year to celebrate the bill, which waives any entrance fees to national parks across the US. However, it is being celebrated on August 5 this year, as the bill was signed yesterday.

There are 105 national parks that charge entrance fees that range from $5 to $35.

“I’ve designated August 4th as Great American Outdoors Day and waived entrance fees to celebrate the passage of this historic conservation law,” said Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt in a news release.

The bill provides $9.5 billion in funding over five years to help clear out a backlog of maintenance needs on federal public lands. And $900 million a year will be funneled to the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“This is a truly historic commitment to revitalize and restore national parks and other public lands in order to expand recreational opportunities and address long overdue infrastructure and modernization challenges,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela in a news release. “This enormous investment will enhance national parks for present and future generations.”

National parks hosted 328 million visitors in 2019, and spending from visitors supports over 300,000 jobs and contributes more than $40 billion annually to the national economy, which includes more than $20 billion to communities surrounding parks, according to the National Parks Service.

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