Bandelier National Monument. Courtesy/NPS
Tuesday, Aug. 25, is a special day in more than 400 very special places all over the country – Founders Day, the anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service (NPS) Aug. 25, 1916.
Every year it is celebrated with free admission to all the parks, national seashores, national monuments, and the many other kinds of areas in the park system, including, of course, Bandelier National Monument. And this is the 99th birthday of the NPS, so it’s extra special, leading up to next year’s centennial celebration.
“This is a time to look ahead to our centennial year, and the next 100 years,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said. “These national treasures belong to all of us, and we hope that everyone – people who have visited National Park areas for decades and those who are just getting started – will get out and discover, explore, and really enjoy their national parks.”
To encourage people nationwide to discover the wide variety of parks and get out and visit them, the NPS and the National Park Foundation are partnering in a program called Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque,(findyourpark.com,) Besides helping people discover parks they’d like to visit, it also provides travelers a way to share their experiences and photos with others via social media.
There’s even a list of “99 Ways to Find Your Park’, which suggests a wide range of activities from sailing, biking, and seeing the starry skies, to getting immersed in a living history program, traveling the Underground Railroad, becoming a citizen scientist, or taking an urban hike.
At Bandelier, entrance fees will be waived for everyone, and there will be special activities.
“This is a great time to visit Bandelier,” Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott said. “The rains have brought a bright profusion of flowers, crews have been working on the archaeological sites, and having a day with free admission makes it just that much better.”
Visitors will continue to use the shuttles (the last day for shuttles this year is Oct. 27) and there will still be fees for camping, but no entrance fees will be collected.
For more information, check at Bandelier’s website, www.nps.gov/band, the park Facebook page, and find new places to experience at Find Your Park at findyourpark.com, or call the Bandelier Visitor Center at 505.672.3861 x 517.