On Saturday, April 21, visitors will be able to attend any national park site in the United States free of charge. Dinosaur National Monument is one of the many areas in Utah the public will be able to enjoy at no cost.
“To appreciate these lands and this country that we live in, it’s so important we get out and that we explore these areas,” said Lesha Coltharp, director of tourism for Uintah County.
“I feel like everyone should get to see them,” Coltharp said. “I also feel like you should pay because there are fees associated with running the park. But it’s nice that every year they give us three or four or five days that we can go in as a public to be able to see these parks and monuments and recreation areas for free.”
Coltharp said the interactive education experience that national parks and monuments provide is a main reason why people should visit these sites.
“That’s not something you can learn in a textbook,” Coltharp said, “or something you can learn online or something you can learn from a photo. It’s something that you have to actually go in, see with your eyes, feel with your hands, smell with your nose to be able to really understand.”
In her experience, Coltharp hasn’t seen fee-free days significantly increase monument attendance or create overcrowding issues.
National parks sites can also be visited free of charge this year on September 22 and November 11.