U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service will join U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service and other federal agencies in waiving its entrance fees during Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 10-12, in an effort to help Americans find comfort and solace after the tragic events of Sept. 11.
“National forests and grasslands can offer calm and peaceful experiences and spiritual renewal,” said Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth. “We encourage the public to reconnect with the natural world and to visit their national forests and grasslands in celebration of this great land.”
While there are usually no costs to visit national forests and grasslands, the Forest Service does charge fees through the recreation fee demonstration program. Established in 1996 by Congress, the “fee demo” program gave the Forest Service and other federal agencies temporary authority to charge fees for some kinds of recreation use. All fees go directly to improving the land from which they were collected.
In addition to entrance fees, most recreation day-use fees also will be waived during Veterans Day weekend. Some fees, such as for overnight camping, recreation permits, reservation services and concession operations, will remain in effect.
The Forest Service manages 155 national forests and 20 grasslands, covering 192 million acres in 44 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It includes 399 wilderness areas, 4,385 miles of wild and scenic rivers, about 8,000 miles of scenic byways, 133,087 miles of hiking, horse and off-highway vehicle trails, more than 18,000 campgrounds, picnic areas and visitor facilities, and extensive hunting and fishing opportunities.