Visit national park for free on Saturday

Shenandoah National Park is celebrating National Park Week with free admission and special events Saturday.

Sally Hurlbert, the park management specialist, said National Park Week is a time set aside to celebrate all of American’s national treasures and Shenandoah National Park is one of those gems.

“We hope people will come out and visit the park and discover its beauty, experience its recreational benefits, learn its stories and escape from the pressures of their daily lives,” Hurlbert said. “Shenandoah means different things to different people, but it has something to offer for everyone.”

This year’s theme for National Park Week is “Park Stars.”

Hurlbert encourages people to visit the park to view the stars at night, and to “hike the trails to one of our ‘rock stars’ geologic formations, mountain peaks or waterfalls, enjoy the rebirth of spring wildflowers and wildlife, learn about the park’s interesting stories at our stop visitor centers or take a drive on Skyline Drive and stop at one of our overlooks to enjoy the beautiful views.”

She added: “We also hope the park will inspire people to become ‘superstar’ volunteers by coming up to the park to help with a project or pick up trash while they are here.”

In addition to the regularly scheduled events and programs, on Saturday the park will celebrate National Junior Ranger Day, a program designed to help children and families connect with national parks that engage them in learning, exploring and practicing stewardship.

To celebrate Earth Day, the park will offer a 2.1-mile hike along the Appalachian Trail at 10 a.m. Sunday. The park will celebrate Park Rx Day  with a park ranger leading a hike to the summit of Stony Man, a 1.6-mile hike, at 10 a.m. April 29.

“We especially hope that children will find a special connection with the park,” Hulbert said. “So that they will want to return someday to experience the park with their own children.”

More info: For a full schedule of events visit https://tinyurl.com/y8648rsz.