Have next Monday off? Well, it's time to lace up your walkin' shoes because Saguaro National Park is waiving entrance fees for MLK Day.
That sounds nice on its own, but those looking to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a more community-service driven way will also have their moment:
The park is seeking volunteers to help us pick up trash and litter along S. Freeman Road and S. Old Spanish Trail. This service event will be taking place on Monday, Jan. 18 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Monday. Tools, equipment, and protective wear will be provided to volunteers. Please come prepared wearing long pants, sun-screen, hats, and close-toed shoes, with personal snacks and a bottle of water. Additional water will be available for refilling bottles. Parking is available.
To sign up for this day of service, please email or call the park’s Centennial Volunteer Ambassador, Corina Yeh, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 733-8603 by Jan. 15.
In addition to this volunteer project, the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona will also be joining park staff in a service event removing invasive buffelgrass from park lands.
But wait, there's more!
Western National Parks Association will honor the fee–free holiday with a 15 percent discount on all bookstore items in both visitor centers. Park visitors are reminded that the fee-free designation applies to entrance fees only and does not affect fees for camping. Park entrance stations and visitor centers will have Saguaro Annual Passes, along with Interagency Senior, Active Military, and Annual Passes available for those who wish to purchase them. All Fourth Graders are welcome to print their vouchers at www.everykidinapark.gov and exchange them at the park for their free annual Every Kid in a Park annual pass, good for them and their whole family.
I spent a few cheeky teenage summers volunteering at Saguaro National Park, mostly organizing files, cleaning slides and trying not to get underfoot. I didn't absorb as much desert knowledge as I should have... but I did learn there are few things as beautiful as the Sonoran desert at sunrise.