As part of the celebration for National Public Lands Day (NPLD) on Saturday, September 29, 2012, the public will be able to gain free entrance to all of the 397 parks which are part of the national park system. While there are many parks within the national park system that never charge an entrance fee, there are over 100 that do. These include some of the most famous national parks such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite. NPLD is typically scheduled on the last Saturday in September.

NPLD was first celebrated in 1994 with 700 volunteers. It has since grown into the largest on-day volunteer event for the nation's public lands. Last year NPLD attracted over 170,000 volunteers who worked on over 2000 public land sites. In doing so, the volunteers removed 23,000 pounds of invasive plants, created and maintained 1,500 miles of trails, planted some 100,000 native plants, and removed about 500 tons of trash. Those interested can learn how to volunteer at a national park, or contact a park directly to find out what volunteer activities they have planned for the day.

The national park service offers free entrance to parks for several events throughout the year including National Parks Week and National Get Outdoors Day. NPLD isn't the last free entrance day to national parks this year. The national park service will also offer no-fee entrance days from November 10 through 12 for the Veterans Day weekend.

The national park free entrance days are valid for all entrance fee into the park, but don't include other activities within the park. Fees for camping and lodging remain in effect, although there are often discounts available which correspond to the free entrance days.

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