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Reader Participation Day: Is April A Good Time To Mark National Park Week?


As this photo taken in Glacier National Park in May 2010 clearly shows, little of the park is open in time for National Park Week, which falls in mid-April. NPS photo.

Is April really the best month to celebrate National Park Week? After all, some northern tier parks such as Glacier, Yellowstone, and North Cascades have limited access in mid-April, and many kids are in school and can't get away to the parks.

True, it's a good time to visit places such as Everglades, Death Valley, and Canyonlands national parks. But would more people benefit -- and actually get out into the parks -- if National Park Week fell during the summer, when most schools are out and the weather is better for more units of the National Park System?

If you were in charge, when would you schedule National Park Week?


Every week.  All year long.

I would perfer National Park Week be held in the summer.  Even here on the east coast it is often very chilly so I'd rather it be in the summer.

Even middle-to-late May would be preferable...before "peak" visitation season begins, but when it is a little warmer.

However, I can see a mid-April time frame as being a potential marketing tool for people still planning summer trips.

I'll visit any time of year, regardless of when National Park Week falls.

If the goal is to boost awareness for families who are planning summer vacations, or to increase visitation during what is for many parks the shoulder season, then NP Week is timed appropriately. National Junior Ranger Day seems to be held in conjunction with NP Week though, and many parks can't participate because the weather is still too harsh or unpredictable in April for the kiddos to have a positive experience. I'd like to see NP Week moved to the summer--though of course then places like Death Valley won't benefit. Hmmm. Quite the conundrum.

The first question should be, what are you trying to achieve with National Park Week?  Then determine when you should celebrate it.

If the goal is to have the National Park Service do something across the country that relates to Earth Day, than fits where it is.

If the goal is to encourage families or young people to visit, to become connected or renew connections, than summer would seem to make more sense (mid-June?).

If the goal is to raise awareness about the National Park System than perhaps it should be held the week of Memorial Day weekend when there is usually a great deal of media interest focused on the coming summer season.

I have no issue with leaving NP week as it is. Most everyone lives within a short drive of a NPS park and can choose to make at least a weekend visit any time of the year. In the summer our parks are already overtaxed with visitors, esp. the big name parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite, Acadia, and the Grand Canyon. I don't see more people choosing to visit in the summer simply because a modest admission fee is waived. Either way I'm not really affected as the two parks I visit most, the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway, don't have admission fees.

I would move it to late May if I was asked.

Its a horrible time for some northern parks-We are supposed to schedule both Junior Ranger and Volunteer Appreciation events-but with uncertain April weather (It is snowing heavily as i write this), we can't get anyone to come to these events-sometime between Memorial Day and mid September would be much better-

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