Included in National Park Week is an April 23 celebration of the Junior Ranger program that encourages children to get closer and learn more about the parks. Children can earn a badge by completing a series of educational activities. Activities vary by park, but they often include taking part in a ranger-led program, observing nature, writing about experiences or taking a hike.
Two years ago, North Cascades National Park introduced four activity books.
“It’s great just to have a project for kids. It’s doing, not talking,” Lee Taylor, chief of interpretation at Mount Rainier, told the News Tribune in a previous interview.
Each year about 1,500 children take part in Mount Rainier’s program and more than 350,000 take part nationally.
Taylor said park staff has planned some hands-on activities for the day at the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise. Activities will be offered 10 a.m.-2 p.m. They will include arts, crafts and games, as well as a snowshoe program for children ages 8 and older.
The program at Olympic National Park is still being worked out. Check www.nps.gov/olym for information.
Jeffrey P. Mayor, staff writer
One of the benefits of National Park Week is that parks will not charge entrance fees. That will save visitors to places such as Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks the $15 seven-day admission fee.
Park Service officials hope waiving entrance fees will encourage people to visit parks for the first time or go to a park they’ve not visited before.
Other Park Service units in Washington that will waive their entrance fees will be Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (usually $3 per individual and $5 per family), Lewis & Clark National Historical Park ($3 for people 16 and older) and Whitman Mission National Historic Site ($3 for people 16 and older).
North Cascades National Park does not charge an entrance fee.
The National Park Service also has scheduled other fee-free days for this year. They are: June 21 (first day of summer), Sept. 24 (National Public Lands Day), and Nov. 11-13 (Veterans Day weekend).