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US Forest Service Announces 2012 Fee Waiver Days To Increase Visitor Opportunities, Stimulate Local

First fee waiver weekend is Jan. 14-16 in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Published online: Jan 11, 2012 News
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Washington - 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 world.