All national parks will offer free admission on 16 days next year to celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th birthday.
“We added extra fee-free days so that everyone has a chance to join the party,” park service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a news release.
The 16 free-entry days for 2016 will be:
- Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- April 16-24, National Park Week
- Aug. 25-28, National Park Service Birthday weekend
- Sept. 24, National Public Lands Day
- Nov. 11, Veterans Day
The waiver does not cover added fees such as camping, boat launches, transportation and special tours.
The park service officially turns 100 on Aug. 25. On that day in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the agency “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations.”
Now the only hard part is picking which park to visit. For help, go online to FindYourPark.com for a list of special centennial events across the country.
Jingle Bell Run – The annual holiday tradition returns for a fourth year Dec. 12, with thousands expected to festively trot along Fresno’s Christmas Tree Lane.
The event features a 5K run and 2-mile walk, starting at Van Ness Avenue near the intersection of Palm and Shaw avenues. The course is a loop with complete road closure. The run starts at 9 a.m., with the walk shortly after.
Cost is $40 for participants 10 and older and $25 for children 9 and under. Sign up online at www.fresnojinglebellrun.com. There is no day-of registration and the event will take place rain or shine.
The event is also a collection for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots. Bring a toy to donate and receive a free Santa hat (guaranteed to first 5,000 participants).
Visalia will host its Jingle Bell Run on the following day, Dec. 13 on Main Street. For details and to sign up, visit www.visaliajinglebellrun.com.
Snowshoeing basics – The Fresno REI Outdoor School will host a free 90-minute presentation on the basics of snowshoeing at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Learn how to find the right gear and what you’ll need to begin hiking through the snow.
Space is limited. Reserve your spot at www.rei.com/fresno.
Cyclocross– The Central California Off-Road Cyclists will host the second race in the Homegrown Cyclocross series on Sunday at Woodward Park.
Sign-ups begin at 9:15 a.m., with the first race at 10. There are categories for men, women, juniors, beginners and experts. Cost is $20 for men and women, $15 for juniors.
The race kicks off three consecutive Sundays of cyclocross action, with the third series event Dec. 13 and the Fresno County Cyclocross Race at Lost Lake Recreation Area on Dec. 20.