Celebrate the 100th anniversary of national parks for free

For those who’ve ever enjoyed our majestic national parks like standing on the valley floor of Yosemite National Park to gaze up at the natural beauty of the granite cathedral which includes El Capitan and Half Dome, it’s a welcome breath of fresh air to our daily lives in the cement jungle.

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Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir on Glacier Point in Yosemite 1906, Library of Congress

National parks are unique to our country. Other countries can’t say they’ve accomplished preserving their pristine, natural wonders in the way we have. It was 100 years ago today that the National Park Service was created, and the park service has a plethora of events going on to celebrate their centennial anniversary.

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Katahdin Woods and Water, Maine

There are now some 59 major parks and 413 sites that span 84 million acres, the newest being Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine, which is 87,000 acres donated by the founder of Burt’s Bees and designated yesterday.

In this economic climate, according to CBS News today, keeping the parks pristine condition is a struggle, with a $12 billion dollar maintenance back log. Congress has increased the budget this year and entrance fees raised from 307 million visitors also helps.

This weekend though, in honor of the 100th anniversary, you can enjoy the majesty of our natural wonders, like Yellowstone National Park, right here in this great country for free.

If you do get the chance to visit the splendor of Yosemite National Park though, the majority of tourists never venture beyond Yosemite Valley, so we encourage you explore some its wild back country and Tuolumne Meadows. BodieAnd you can drive out of the park, past Mono Lake, and head over to check out a real California gold-mining ghost town, Bodie, which is now a state historic park.