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Parks, forests waive entrance fees

Weekend offer can save families $25 a carload

National parks and other federal land agencies are waiving entrance fees on Saturday and Sunday to celebrate public lands across the country and welcome families that soon will be tied up with back-to-school activities.

Entrance or parking fees also are being waived where they are charged on national forests and Bureau of Land Management areas.

Examples of Forest Service fee areas include Bead Lake in the Colville National Forest and trailheads in the Blue Mountains and many popular areas in forests of the Cascade Mountains.

The waiver does not include other fees for camping, reservations, tours and use of concessions, nor does the waiver apply to concession-operated day-use areas such as those at Sullivan Lake, according to Colville National Forest officials.

At Glacier National Park, the waiver saves park visitors up to $25 per vehicle for the weekend.

At national forest trailheads, the waiver saves visitors $5-$8 a carload per day.

The U.S. Forest Service operates about 17,000 recreation sites across the country. Of those sites, about 6,000 have expanded services that require a fee for use. Otherwise, about 98 percent of national forest lands are free to public access, said agency officials in Washington, D.C.

The remaining federal fee waiver dates for 2010 are set for National Public Lands Day on Sept. 25 and Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

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