Utah’s five national parks celebrate 99th anniversary today

Bryce Canyon National Park and hundreds of other National Park sites around the country are offering free admission today on the ninety-ninth anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service. Photo courtesy of National Park Service.

BRYCE CANYON CITY, Utah – Visitors to Utah’s five National Parks get in free today to celebrate the <a href=”http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/npsbirthday.htm” target=”parent”>ninety-ninth anniversary</a> of the <a href=”http://www.nps.gov” target=”parent”>National Park Service</a> (NPS), and hundreds of other National Park sites across the country are also offering “fee-free” access.

Kathleen Gonder, chief of interpretation with <a href=”http://www.nps.gov/brca/index.htm” target=”parent”>Bryce Canyon National Park</a> in southern Utah, invites visitors to see the park’s world-famous rock formations and wildlife.

“Beautiful deer, pronghorn, and we’re the only national park that is home to the Utah prairie dog which is a threatened species,” she says.

On this day in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation to create the National Park Service. Utah’s five National Parks, including Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion are among 408 National Park Service sites throughout the country.

Preparing for the park service’s 100th birthday next year, Gonder says NPS celebrations will connect more with the next generation of park visitors.

“We’ve been given a charge to really focus on engaging youth in the outdoors, and getting families back into the outdoors,” she says.

Bryce Canyon, like other parks, encourages visitors to get into the wild outdoors as much as possible, with hiking programs and other opportunities to explore what has often been called “America’s Best Idea.”

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