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Looking west from the top of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Looking west from the top of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.
National Park Service

No Entrance Fees at Colorado's National Parks on August 5

Plan on playing hooky on August 5.

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has come in for plenty of criticism from environmentalists, but it's hard to find fault with the native Coloradan's latest move: In honor of the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act, on August 5 he's waiving entrance fees at public lands managed by the Department of the Interior — assets overseen by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

After 2020, the free day will move to August 4, now named Great American Outdoors Day.

Colorado has thirteen national parks, as well as national trails and historic sites, along with numerous other federal lands that will be free tomorrow. (Fair warning: Most will still require reservations, since the number of people allowed in each area is very limited these days; check the park website for details.)

“This is a remarkable opportunity to celebrate historic legislation. Congress came together to pass the most significant conservation bill, the Great American Outdoors Act, in over fifty years with the largest infusion of funding to upkeep and protect our public lands that this country has ever seen,” Senator Cory Gardner, who introduced the legislation, said after the signing. “Today is truly a special day for public lands in Colorado and across our great country, and reason to celebrate every August 4.”

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The act provides full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund at a level of $900 million every year, and addresses the approximately $20 billion maintenance backlog on federal public lands.

Here's Bernhardt’s proclamation declaring August 4 as “Great American Outdoors Day”:

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