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National Park Week being marked at Glacier - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

National Park Week being marked at Glacier

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National Park Week runs through April 23. (MTN News photo) National Park Week runs through April 23. (MTN News photo)
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK -

The country's largest celebration of national heritage is underway at national parks across the country -- including at Glacier National Park. 

National Park Week began over the weekend with free admission to all national parks.

"National Park Week is America's greatest celebration of our country's national heritage," Glacier National Park spokeswoman Lauren Alley said.

This year's theme is "Go Wild," and invites visitors to learn more about the history, culture and wildlife in our national parks.

"People learn a lot of different things from the land and the park rangers, whether it's about natural processes, the geology of the area, how plants and animals survive in the ecosystem," Alley said. "Everything from those things to other things like how the moons and the stars work to how the sun and the moon impact the landscape."

As visitation numbers continue to break records, National Parks Week is also meant to bring awareness to preserving them for future generations.

"National Parks week is a week to explore our national heritage and also to appreciate the things that national parks offer us all, as well as become more aware of those issues that do face national parks, like the maintenance backlog," Alley said.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said during a March visit to Glacier National Park that the $12.8 billion maintenance backlog is one of the biggest issues facing the national parks system.

Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff  Mow will also give a community presentation about the challenges and opportunities the park sees during a talk on Wednesday at Flathead Valley Community College. The event begins at 6 p.m. in FVCC Arts & Technology Building in room 139. 

National Park Week runs through April 23 with free admission being offered again at Glacier National Park on Saturday and Sunday.

Park officials are also inviting folks to discover the healing power of nature by celebrating Park Prescription (Rx) Day on April 23. Glacier National Park, in conjunction with the Summit Medical Fitness Center, will host several activities at the Lake McDonald Lodge Parking Area from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. 

Rangers will be on site to offer free blood pressure screenings and answer questions about the park. Fitness experts from the Summit will provide trekking poles to demo, an outdoor scavenger hunt activity with prizes, and free all natural, organic energy bars made locally at Kalispell Regional Healthcare.

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