This week I am starting a new feature that I plan on being a monthly post. Here I will bring you a round up of the new from the National Parks.

National Parks Week Celebrating Nation’s Parks and American Heritage

The Department of the Interior announced that National Park Week. This is an annual weeklong celebration of America’s national parks. This year it runs from April 17 to April 25. National Park Week encourages the public to explore the network of our national parks, sacred sites, historical landmarks, and learn about our heritage contained within them.  

The 2021 logo for National parks week

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland says “Every national park has its own unique story to tell, yet so much of our nation’s shared heritage can be found in the towering forests and vast desert expanses that make up our National Park System,” s“The outdoors has also proven to be a welcome refuge during the past year of the pandemic. I encourage everyone to enjoy the beauty and wonder of our national parks safely and responsibly.”   

Share your National Park Week experiences and memories on social media using the hashtags #NationalParkWeek, #FindYourPark, or #EncuentraTuParque!

Date(s)Theme DayHashtag(s)
April 17-25National Park Week#National Park Week, #FindYourPark, #EncuentraTuParque
April 17Park Rx Day#ParkRx, #HealthyParksHealthyPeople
April 18VIP (Volunteers In Parks) Sunday#NPSVolunteer
April 19Military Monday#MilitaryMonday
April 20Transformation Tuesday#TransformationTuesday, #NPSOnTheMove
April 21Wayback Wednesday#WaybackWednesday
April 22Earth Day#EarthDay
April 23Friendship Friday#FriendshipFriday, #NPSFriends
April 24Junior Ranger Day#JuniorRangerDay
April 25BARK Ranger Day#BarkRanger

The 53rd Commemoration

A wreath on the exterior of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Heritage Sanctuary.
NPS Photo

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park announces several events for April to commemorate the 53rd anniversary of Dr. King’s assignation. The events Begin Monday, April 5, 2021, and ending on April 30, 2021.  

Superintendent Forte said, “Since our park buildings remain closed due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the National Park Service has created outdoor exhibits and virtual programs to share another Iconic History Moment in American history with park visitors as they walk the park grounds.” 

April 5 – April 30 – Interactive exhibit, “Memphis to Atlanta” will be displayed on the connecting wall of Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and Christian Education Building.   A QR code for visitor access via their smartphones will be available for viewing historic footage of Dr. King’s last days. 

Other special events will take place during the month.  For more information visit

$6.8 million visitor center rehabilitation at Antietam National Battlefield

In the next few months, the National Park Service (NPS) will begin a $6.8 million project to rehabilitate and preserve the visitor center at Antietam National Battlefield. Through this rehabilitation, the NPS will bring the almost 60-year-old facility into the 21st century to preserve the building and provide improved visitor services.  The NPS completed the visitor center at Antietam National Battlefield in 1962 as part of the Mission 66 program. Mission 66 was an ambitious national program to modernize national parks across the country around the National Park Service’s 50th anniversary in 1966. 

The project at the visitor center will:  

  • Rehabilitate the visitor center’s interior and exterior. 
  • Expand the building’s visitor entrance. 
  • Increase accessibility with a new elevator and sidewalk reconfiguration. 
  • Install solar panels to increase efficiency and sustainability. 
  • Replace outdated mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. 
  • Share a broader story of the Battle of Antietam. 
The visitor center at Antietam National Battlefield
NPS Photo

Starting in July, visitor services and educational exhibits will be available in a temporary building during construction. The park plans to reopen the visitor center in late 2022.  

This renovation will help visitors gain a better understanding of the bloodiest battle of the United States Civil War. 

Rocky Mountain National Park Will Begin Pilot Timed Entry Permit Reservations May 28 Through October 11

This year the Park will be implementing a new pilot. This is testing the temporary timed entry permit reservation system. The pilot begins on May 28, 2021. Park staff are planning for significant increases in visitation to public lands in Colorado, including Rocky Mountain National Park. Continued Covid-19 concerns impacting operations like park seasonal staff shared housing, and reduced shuttle bus capacity, along with residual fire impacts in some areas of the park from historic fires in 2020.        

Last year, after being closed for two months amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Rocky Mountain National Park reopened in late May and was the first national park in the country to implement a temporary timed entry permit system to increase park access while providing the public a reasonable opportunity to comply with health guidelines. That timed entry permit system ended on October 12, 2020.        

In 2020, Rocky Mountain National Park was the fourth most visited national park in the country with a 28 percent increase in visitation in November and a 38 percent increase in visitation in December over those months in 2019. 

How to get a Reservation

Reservations to enter the park will go on sale through at 8 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time on Saturday, May 1. 

Reservations will be available to enter the park from May 28 through June 30. The next release will be on June 1, for the month of July, and any remaining days that have not been booked for June. On July 1, reservations will be available for the month of August and any remaining days that have not been booked for July. August 1, reservations will be available for the month of September and any remaining days in August that have not been booked. On September 1, reservations will be available for October and any remaining days in September that has not been booked. Initially, 25 percent of permits will be held and available for purchase the day prior at 5 p.m. through These are expected to sell out quickly and visitors are encouraged to plan ahead when possible.    

Read abut my quick stop at our newest national park, New River Gorge, a few years ago

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