A certain British photographer friend of mine, who shall remain anonymous, recently told me that while America has certainly its faults (we won't go into his phonebook-length list of USA grudges), the National Park system was not one of them. Since I'm a card-carrying member of National Park Service's America the Beautiful Annual Pass program, said British photographer friend was preaching to the choir. During National Park Week, April 17-25—that's, like, now, peops—entry into all of the the US's 392 National Parks is free, gratis, on-the-house. It's the NPS's generous attempt to open the beauty and grandeur of the parks to the public, and, one can only surmise given the economic and environmental threat that the parks face these days, also an attempt to create widespread awareness of their plights. Nearby Yosemite, for example, is on a short list titled, "National Parks in Peril: The Threat of Climate Destruction," released by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and National Resources Defense Council. In simple terms: If the temperature in the park continues to rise due to global warming, you can say goodbye to 25-50 percent of the park's forests and meadows, not to mention its population of cold-water fish, namely salmon and steelhead trout. In regards to the Benjamins crisis—last year the NPS received $750 million from the government, which only seems like no small potatoes, except when you have 392 parks that need a total of $8 billion for maintanence. Do your part, get thee to a National Park this week and donate what would have been your entrance fee to their cause. Then, spread the gospel. You can find National Park Week events in California, from tidepooling to hiking to volunteer cleanup days, here.
It's National Park Week!