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Tourist explore the Step House cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park Sunday, July 18, 2021. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

A rare opportunity will grant you the benefits of national parks without having to pay.

Saturday is National Public Lands Day, and the National Park Service is celebrating by waiving entrance fees to the country's natural gems.

That includes four national parks in Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Mesa Verde National Park. (For Rocky Mountain, you'll still need to book a time slot on Recreation.gov, which charges a $2 processing fee.)

Saturday will mark one of the National Park Service's five free days in 2022. They are days that have taken on extra meaning, as parks have bumped up the price of admission in recent years. In Colorado, they're between $25 and $30.

“National parks are for everyone," National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said in a news release, "and we are committed to increasing access and providing opportunities for all to experience the sense of wonder, awe and refreshment that comes with a visit to these treasured landscapes and sites.”

The last free day of the year is set for Nov. 11, Veterans Day.


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