The U.S. Forest Service will waive fees at most of its day-use recreation sites from Nov. 8 - 11, 2014, in honor of Veteran’s Day.
The fee waiver is the last of four offered this year. The program is in cooperation with other federal land management agencies under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Fees will be waived generally for day-use areas, such as picnic grounds, developed trailheads and destination visitor centers. Sites operated by private concessionaires may be included in the waiver if the permit holder wishes to participate. Contact your local national forest or grassland to learn if your destination requires a fee and if that fee is waived.
“We honor our veterans each Nov. 11 and every other day of the year,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “We hope that this time will serve as a way for our veterans and other visitors to find our national forests and grasslands as a year-round respite, a place where they can take time out for themselves.”
No fees are charged at any time on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands, and approximately two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free. Check with your local forest or grassland or on Recreation.gov to see if your destination charges a fee. Go online to find a national forest or grassland near you.
The 2015 scheduled fee-free days observed by the Forest Service are:
- Jan. 19: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which honors the legacy of the civil rights leader and encourages Americans to participate in the MLK Day of Service
- Feb. 16: Presidents Day, honoring our nation’s Presidents with particular attention towards commemorating President Washington and President Lincoln.
- June 13: National Get Outdoors Day, a day when federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and the recreation industry encourages healthy, outdoor activities.
- Sept. 26: National Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort in support of public lands
- Nov. 11: Veteran’s Day, commemorates the end of World War I and pays tribute to all military heroes past and present.
Get Outdoors Days helps to raise awareness that nature encourages healthy, active outdoor fun. In addition to waving fees, various Forest Service units participate in a variety of public events on agency lands and in nearby cities and towns. Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort in support of public lands. Agency units plan their own events, which range from educational programs to trash pick-up to building trails.
Encouraging use of public lands supports the goals of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, which encourages all Americans to connect with the outdoors, and First Lady Michelle Obama's Let’s Move Outside imitative that encourages children to get out and get active to be healthy.
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.