On Friday, April 14, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is kicking-off National Park Week early from America’s second national park – Sequoia National Park – known for its sky-scraping giant redwood trees. The annual celebration of America’s national parks runs from April 15 – 23 and includes a variety of events including fee-free days on April 15, 16, 22, and 23.
While at Sequoia, Zinke met with staff and leadership to discuss a variety of issues including infrastructure, active management, and increasing access to public lands while also participating in a wildfire mitigation exercise. Sequoia was the Secretary’s second California national park stop after meeting with employees at Yosemite National Park on Thursday.
“Meeting with the dedicated staff at two of our nation’s most iconic parks is a great way to get a head-start on National Park Week,” Zinke said. “Sequoia and Yosemite are the epitome of what our national parks mean to the American people—post-card worthy landscapes that bolster local economies while preserving our national heritage. While we celebrate these amazing places, we will continue to tackle challenges like deferred maintenance and access to ensure they are preserved for generations to come.”
A quote from President Teddy Roosevelt, “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People,” is etched into the stone of the historic arch at another renowned park—Yellowstone. It is a philosophy that Secretary Zinke fully embraces and perfectly sums up what National Park Week is all about.
“There are endless opportunities to enjoy amazing recreation, beautiful scenery, and inspiring stories,” Zinke said. “Last year 331 million people visited our national parks. I urge everyone to go and be a part of the hundreds of events and programs taking place this week throughout the country.”
Following is a sample itinerary of the great things in store for National Park Week:
Saturday, April 15 – Celebrate National Junior Ranger Day. Take part in kid-friendly, hands-on activities and earn a free badge at dozens of parks.
Sunday, April 16 – Ranger-led astronomy talk. Kids ages 5-12 and their families can earn a special Junior Ranger Night Explorer Patch.
Tuesday, April 18 – Celebrate International World Heritage Day at one of the 20 national parks that are World Heritage Sites.
Wednesday, April 19 – Help welcome a dozen new US citizens as they are sworn in with the Painted Desert of Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona) as the backdrop. The National Park Service, in collaboration with the United States Citizen and Immigration Services, hosts naturalization ceremonies in national parks throughout the year.
Saturday, April 22 – Celebrate Earth Day and John Muir’s birthday at John Muir National Historic Site (California). Meet “John Muir” and the giant sequoia he planted 130+ years ago. Tour his 1882 Victorian home and orchards. Enjoy live music and activities for all ages.
Sunday, April 23 – On Park Rx Day, a day that showcases the physical, mental, and psychological health benefits of time in nature, join a ranger walk.
Visit www.nps.gov for more information and to plan your park visit. Use #FindYourPark, #EncuentraTuParque and #NPS101 on social media during National Park Week.