View of the Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park, ME. Photo by NPS/Sheridan Steele
View of the Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park, ME. Photo by NPS/Sheridan Steele

Next year’s free admission days to the national parks have been announced. In 2012, visitors can experience the natural beauty of the country’s national parks free of charge on 17 days.

The fee free days in 2012 are January 14 to 16 (Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend), April 21 to 29 (National Park Week), June 9 (Get Outdoors Day), September 29 (National Public Lands Day), and November 10 to 12 (Veterans Day weekend).

“From Independence Hall to our newest national park, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, our national parks tell the story of America, from the beauty of our land to our struggle for freedom and justice,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said while making the announcement.

“Whether or not it’s during one of the 17 fee free days next year, I encourage everyone to visit a park near them and enjoy the remarkable landscapes and historical and cultural sites that are unique to our great country.”

National parks not only offer a nature-filled haven for Americans, they also stimulate local economies. Recreation in national parks, refuges and other public lands generated nearly $55 billion in economic activity in addition to supporting 440,000 jobs in 2009.

“The majority of national parks don’t have an entrance fee and those that do charge a maximum of $25 a week for an entire family,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said. “We realize there are additional expenses when visiting a park, so many associated businesses will have discounts and enhancements on the fee free days.”

For more information, visit National Park Services.

To view an image gallery of spectacular Yellowstone Park, visit GoNOMAD.