Video: National parks free this week

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    >> take care.

    >>> earth day is coming up on thursday and among those gearing up, the white house . on friday president obama host add conference on america 's great outdoors. joining us to talk about this is the wilderness society 's director of public awareness. frank , good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> what was this white house conference all about?

    >> well, it was all about getting the american people more involved in protecting and enjoying the great outdoors and our national parks and national land system. my wife attended. i did not. it was a great conference.

    >> okay. what was it last september they had a conference on breaking the color barrier in the great outdoors. do you see any change, frank , from last september to now in terms of attitudes, the attendance?

    >> i see a greater sensitivity to the need to be more inclusive both on the part of conservation organizations and on the part of the government . and also an increase in awareness among people of color .

    >> okay. what about the national parks ? they're free this week, right? do you know how many people are going to take advantage of this?

    >> i have no idea but i hope that we'll have record numbers taking advantage of this. it is one of the great treasures of the world , our national parks . take yellow stone national park , for instance, it has more geysers than the rest of the world combined. we have a tremendous asset in our natural resources in this k country .

    >> do you think that americans are aware of what is in their backyard ? it do you think maybe earth day is a great way to get the message out and, if so, what would you say?

    >> yes, i think it is a great way to get the message out and i do not believe americans are completely aware of what's in their backyard . a shameless plug, my wife and i have written a book, legacy on the land, which attempts to help upgrade this awareness among african- americans and among all americans . they talk about our history in the national park and what we have contributed.

    >> and, frank , what's your wife's name?

    >> audrey .

    >> audrey . so the book is "legacy on the land" by audrey and frank peterman. not a shameless plug at all. thanks so much for joining us.

updated 4/19/2010 10:37:21 AM ET 2010-04-19T14:37:21

Entrance fees will be waived at all 392 national parks April 17-25 for National Park Week.

Many parks have organized events, talks, volunteer clean-ups and other projects to encourage the public to visit that week. Details, including a "Find a Park" search option, are online at http://www.nps.gov/npweek/.

Events include an invitation to help plant a demonstration garden at Cane River Creole National Historic Park in Louisiana, April 22; a recreation of Paul Revere's row across Boston Harbor to Charleston, Mass., April 18 beginning at 7 p.m. at Boston National Historic Park; as well as other hikes, wildlife programs and heritage celebrations around the country.

A number of parks have special events for kids scheduled for April 24, which is National Junior Ranger Day. Kids who participate in walks, litter pick-ups, and other activities can earn a junior ranger patch.

Some park areas and roads are still off-limits to the public this early in the season, and not all services and concessions are open.

But a few hotels and other park concessionaires are offering special promotions in conjunction with National Park Week. Offers for coupons, merchandise discounts, freebies and two nights-for-one lodging deals, are listed here.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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