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It’s National Get Outdoors Day. Enjoy Mother Nature & Go Camping!

363This Saturday, June 8, is National Get Outdoors Day, which means you don’t have much of an excuse not to hit the trails, pitch your tent, bust out the bike or dust off your canoe. Looking for a quick camping escape? Managing Editor Kelly Kramer, author of the new Arizona Highways Camping Guide, recommends Lockett Meadow, near Flagstaff.

“It’s set among the aspens, of course, and the 17 sites each offer spectacular views of the wilderness, including the ashy, cinder-cone landscape, Kramer writes. “In summer, the aspens blaze a brilliant green with new leaves. Sites 7 and 8 are perhaps the most scenic, while 13 through 15 are nothing to scoff at, either. You won’t find a bad site in the bunch.”

Information: Flagstaff Ranger District, Coconino National Forest, 928-527-3600 or www.fs.usda.gov/Coconino.

The Arizona Highways Camping Guide is available online at www.arizonahighways.com and at Arizona Costco locations beginning tomorrow.

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Celebrate “National Get Outdoors Day” …. In The Outdoors …. For Free.

Josh Buchanan | Saguaro National Park East

Get a head start on your summer fun with free admission to any national park this Saturday, June 9. In celebration of National Get Outdoors Day, all 397 national parks will waive entrance fees.

“Outdoor physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and national parks are great places to get out, experience nature, and get your heart pumping,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “There are so many things to see and do in a park, either on your own or on a guided tour. Stroll a battlefield, hike to a waterfall, observe wildlife, paddle a waterway, walk on the beach, or enjoy a picnic. There’s something for everyone in America’s national parks. We hope to see you on Saturday.”

National Get Outdoors Day is part of Great Outdoors Month, proclaimed by the President to encourage Americans, especially youth, to participate in outdoor activities and enjoy the beauty of public lands. Hundreds of organizations and businesses will partner with Federal, state, and local agencies to provide fun and healthy events at sites throughout the country.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Washington expects several thousand people to take part in a signature Get Outdoors Day event featuring archery, disc golf, a flash mob, an obstacle course, soccer, parachute games, exercise classes, cooking demonstrations and other interactive activities.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis is anticipating a big crowd for its “Get Outdoors under the Gateway Arch.” Activities will include a boot camp, yoga, Pilates, tai chi, fishing, gardening, bike rides, and walking tours. A list of other sites hosting National Get Outdoors Day activities can be found at http://www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org/locations/

The National Park Service will have four more entrance fee free days in 2012 – September 29 (National Public Lands Day) and November 10 to 12 (Veterans Day weekend). There are 133 parks that normally charge entrance fees ranging from $3 to $25. But here’s a tip – 264 national parks never have entrance fees, so you can plan inexpensive visits year round!

If you are planning a trip that includes multiple national parks, you might consider the $80 annual pass that provides entrance to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many other Federal lands – more than 2,000 in all. This America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is offered free to all active duty military members and their dependents. Information on these and other pass options is available online.

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Save the Date! Forest Service to Waive Fees Starting June 11

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2011 –The U.S. Forest Service will waive the day-use fees associated with many recreation sites or amenities on national forests nationwide on June 11, the first of several fee-free days this year.

“The Forest Service waives fees every year to encourage more Americans to get outdoors and experience the wide array of recreation opportunities provided on our forests and grasslands,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “We hope that these experiences on our lands will foster a lifelong appreciation and stewardship of precious natural resources.”

This year’s fee waiver dates are as follows:

 * National Get Outdoors Day – June 11

* National Public Lands Day – September 25

* Veterans’ Day Weekend – November 11-13

Day-use fees will be waived at all standard amenity fee sites operated by the Forest Service for these listed dates. Concessionaire-operated, day-use sites may be included in the waiver if the permit holder wishes to participate.

Fees are not charged for 98 percent of national forest and grasslands. More than two-thirds of developed recreation sites can be used for free. The Forest Service operates approximately 18,000 recreation sites nationwide, many including day-use areas, picnic and shelter sites, beach and lake areas, boat launches, trails and trailheads, and campsites and cabins.

The fee waiver days support the goals of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside program. AGO helps to raise awareness about the serious challenges natural resources face today, particularly the loss of prime agricultural and forests lands that provide a wealth of benefits to Americans, including clean water, wildlife habitat, food and fiber, and more. The Let’s Move! Outside program promotes regular outdoor activity to help kids maintain a healthy weight, boost immunity and bone health, and lower stress. By linking parents to nearby parks, trails and waters, and providing tips and ideas, Let’s Move! Outside can help families develop a more active lifestyle.

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