- The U.S. Forest Service announced today eight dates for the new year
when national forests nationwide will waive fees that are usually collected to
support forest maintenance and amenities.
"We encourage the public to get outdoors in America's vast
and dynamic playground," Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said. "We hope that
visiting your beautiful national forests and grasslands will help people gain a
deep appreciation for natural resources, and create lifelong memories."
Visitors to national forests will not pay fees on the following dates in 2012:
Jan. 14-16 -- Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend
June 9 -- Get Outdoors Day
Sept. 29 -- National Public Lands Day
Nov. 10-12 -- Veterans Day weekend
Despite the Forest Service's fee waivers, the agency does
not usually charge for visitors to national forests. In fact, the Forest
Service does not charge for access on 98 percent of its land. More than
two-thirds of the Forest Service's approximately 18,000 recreation sites
nationwide can be used for free. They include picnic sites, campsites, beach and
lake areas, trails, boat launches, and cabins.
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the
health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to
meet the needs of present and future generations. Recreational activities on
our lands contribute $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy. The agency manages
193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private
landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the