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Free entry to national parks on MLK Day. It's the first of only four fee-free days in 2018

Free entry to national parks on MLK Day. It's the first of only four fee-free days in 2018
Martin Luther King Day on Monday is a free day to visit national parks. This is the Morning Glory hot spring in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. (Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images)

National parks and national forests across the U.S. that charge entrance fees will be free for visitors Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Day.

However, the number of fee-free days at national parks has been cut to four in 2018: Monday (Martin Luther King Day), April 21 (first day of National Park Week), Sept. 22 (National Public Lands Day) and Nov. 11 (Veterans Day).

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In 2017, there were 10 fee-free days; in 2016, the National Park Service's centennial year, there were 16 fee-free days.

No reason was given for the change, according to an Associated Press story.

On free days, visitors save $25 to $30 per vehicle at 118 of the more than 400 national parks across the nation, including Joshua Tree, Yosemite and Death Valley parks.

Last year, the park service made a proposal to raise entrance fees to $70 at more than a dozen parks, including popular ones such as Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Zion. The public comment period closed Dec. 22; a decision has not yet been announced.

National forests in 2018 offer six fee-free days: Monday (Martin Luther King Day), Feb. 19 (Presidents Day), June 19 (National Get Outdoors Day), Sept. 22 (National Public Lands Day) and Nov. 11 and 12 (Veterans Day).

Other free admission Monday applies to federal Bureau of Land Management sites as well as lands managed by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Bureau of Reclamation.

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