National Park Service Opening Up For Free Weekends This Summer

With the hope of stimulating the national economy in it's own way, the National Park Service announced it will offer three free weekends this summer.

They hope it will pay off for local economies, and the park service will tell you, they're excited about it.

"WooHoo!!! I think it's great we always want people to come out to the parks," says Rozanna Pfeiffer, the Lake Meredith Spokeswoman.

Last week Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar pointed to the economy as one of the reasons he's opening up the national park system.

For June 20-21, July 18-19, and August 15-16, entrance fees will be waived at those parks that charge one.

But for places that don't charge an entrance fee like Lake Meredith...

"It's up to local superintendents they can at their discretion wave other fees and of course here at lake Meredith the only fee we have is the boating fee," said Pfeiffer.

So on these select weekends that will be gone.

And the park service is hoping that will attract more people.

" There is still water in the lake and people are catching a lot of fish," said Pfeiffer.

We spoke with the owner of CJ's bait shop outside of Fritch and he said so far crowds have been similar to last year, but since summer has not officially started, he's expecting much larger crowds, and revenue.

But the park service says this could also be an opportunity to explore outside the Panhandle.

"Most of these parks that are somewhat close. One day's drive and have a minimal entrance fee... may be five dollars. But per person. So hey, save a little bit of money," said Pfeiffer.

There are 47 National Parks within Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.

Last year National Parks helped put more than $10 billion into local economies.

For more information visit the National Park Service at: