Following the third consecutive year of record visitation to national parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced some additional fee-free days for 2017. The exact impact of fee-free days on the local parks’ visitor numbers is unknown but it does fuel a spike in local business in Three Rivers and longer lines at the entrance stations.
The 2017 national entrance fee-free days are:
April 15-16 and April 22-23, National Park Week weekends; Friday, Aug. 25, the National Park Service’s 101st birthday; Saturday, Sept. 30, National Public Lands Day; and Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 11-12, Veterans Day weekend.
In addition, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks will be waiving entrance fees on these days:
Saturday, June 3: National Trails Day;
Saturday, Aug. 12: Buffalo Soldiers commemoration; and
Sunday, Dec. 10: Nation’s Christmas Tree celebration.
In 2016, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks recorded 1.8 million visitors. The Sequoia numbers of 1.25 million were an all-time high, breaking the previous record of 1.14 million visitors in 1987. The Kings Canyon total of 607,479 visitors was not a record but was a marked increase from 468,106 in 2015.
Visitation is expected to increase even more in 2017 and the number of visitors to Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks is expected to eclipse two million visitors.