Every year at the seams of springtime comes a celebratory week every Earth-lover and outdoor adventurer can stand behind - National Park Week. The National Park Service joins with the National Park Foundation in fusion with this presidentially proclaimed week to celebrate the best of this country and its park system.
This week aims to bring recognition to America's national parks and influence people to explore some of the unique places we are so appreciative to have access to. This first day of National Park Week is April 16, when all entrance fees are waived for visitors country-wide, and the last day is April 24, with a fun day for the dogs on April 25.
To celebrate National Park Week, we have put together an overview of the daily themes and programs throughout the 400 parks in the National Park Service (NPS) and other ways you can contribute and get involved at a park near you.
Land Acknowledgement During National Park Week
Before we break down all things National Park Week, the most important thing we can do to "celebrate" these special places in the country is to first acknowledge and bring light to the fact that these sacred lands have been home to Indigenous and Native tribes long before the NPS was created. Our favorite website to discover whose ancestral lands you live or recreate is Native Land Digital.
This Candian non-profit is Indigenous-led and has a mission "to create and foster conversations about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations, through educational resources such as our map and Territory Acknowledgement Guide." While this is just a start in recognizing and giving back, it is a crucial step in celebrating more mindfully and respectfully.
National Park Week Theme Days
The theme for 2022's National Park Week is "sPark Connections," which is broken down into daily themes, with both in-person and virtual events urging park visitors and lovers to engage more with the park system by spending time outdoors and learning to recreate responsibly at one of the 400 incredible National Park sites.
April 16: sPark Discovery
Kick off National Park Week on April 16 with a fee-free day to a national park near you. Free admission is given to park visitors to encourage people to visit that park they have always wanted to, discover a new park they may not have considered, or attend a virtual event to bring the outdoors to you (if you can't physically get to one). Head to NPS.gov to locate your park.
April 17: sPark Creativity
For centuries and centuries, the incredible landscape of modern-day America has inspired, awed, humbled, and captured the hearts of all who have the blessings of soaking in the beauty.
April 18: sPark Collaboration
The only way the largest accomplishments in humanity, big and small, happen is through collaboration, community, and family. We rely on those around us to lift us up, support us when we are down, and help build a future where every living being is genuinely equal. This day is all about getting involved, giving back, and making new connections with the humans around you.
April 19: sPark Innovation
By infusing humankind's latest technology and innovative feats, the National Park Service strives to pursue its efforts of conversation and preservation. Discover what your favorite park is doing to reach these measures.
April 20: sPark Opportunities
April 20 of National Park Week is all about the opportunities presented through the NPS system. Learn more about their mission, efforts, and employment opportunities. Have you felt the call? The time to listen is now! Become a Park Ranger or enroll your young one in a Junior Ranger Day to check out the Junior Ranger Program.
April 21: sPark Preservation
Preservation is all about keeping something in existence, keeping something safe from damage or deterioration, and April 21 is aimed to keep that goal in mind.
April 22: sPark Action
Also known as Earth Day, April 22 is a day dedicated to taking ACTION. We are in a crucial stage of our environmental health. We must fervently assess how to sustain life on this beautiful spinning, blue and green planet we call home. Visit a recreation area at a park near you and post your Earth Day action for the day on social media.
April 23: sPark Curiosity
Curiously is all about discovering something new! Find a new park to visit, whether during park week or for your next vacation. It's always a good day to celebrate our public lands, chat with a park ranger at a visitor center, or even plan a trip with the family to one of the park system's great campgrounds.
April 24: sPark Memories
Take that above curiosity and make some epic memories with it for this day of National Park Week!
April 25: Bark Ranger Day
Bark Ranger Day is a day for our furry friends to become involved in the National Park magic.
Follow the Bark Ranger rules: (B)ag your pet's waste, (A)lways leash your pet, (R)espect wildlife, and (K)now where you can go.
Participate in National Park Week
To fully participate in National Park Week, use the hashtag #NationalParkWeek to connect and share your NPW memories. Find your park here.
How do you celebrate National Park Week? Share your experience with us on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!
Enjoy reading about the open road?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.