Americas National Parks have been described, in the words of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Wallace Stegner, as "the best idea we ever had." Each April, the National Park Service and it's official charity, the National Parks Foundation, celebrate the treasures that are our parks, monuments and landmarks with National Park Week. 

Beginning with free admission to all NPS sites on Saturday, April 17, there will be a different theme for each day of the week. From volunteerism to military service to Earth Day, and more, each day focuses on a different way to celebrate each of the 400-plus sites that make up the National Park Service.

Colorado is home to a number of NPS sites, including the very popular Rocky Mountain National Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park and PreserveColorado National Monument, off of I-70 and adjacent to Grand Junction, is a treasure trove of hiking trails and scenic views. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, and Dinosaur National Monument are some of Colorado's more remote NPS sites and each has its own unique attractions for outdoor recreation.  For history buffs, Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site, Hovenweep National Monument, Mesa Verde National Park, Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, and Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (the NPS site nearest to Colorado Springs), offer glimpses into ancient, really ancient and not-so-ancient periods in Colorado's ecological and social timelines. 

If you can't visit your favorite — or new to you — National Park Service site during the upcoming week, this might be a good time to put them on your vacation or travel plans for this summer.

Be Good. Do Good Things.

Note: In last week's column I erroneously reported that the San Carlos Ranger District required reservations for camping in the national forest. It is in fact the South Platte Ranger District that requires reservations. Apologies for the error.

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