(Pine Springs, TX) Guadalupe Mountains National Park Superintendent Dennis A. Vsquez announced that the park will join America's 397 other national parks in offering everyone free admission from November 10-12, 2012 in honor of those that serve and have served in the United States military.

“Guadalupe Mountains National Park has several military bases and institutions nearby, including Fort Bliss, Cannon Air Force Base and the New Mexico Military Institute, and Texas and New Mexico are home to many veterans,” said Vásquez. “We are proud to honor them by waiving the park entrance fee for all park visitors on Veterans Day Weekend. Active duty military personnel and military dependents will be able to obtain the free American the Beautiful Annual Military Pass this weekend, and everyday, at the Pine Springs Visitor Center. Just bring your active duty military or dependents identification. We hope that everyone will take advantage of the variety of free interpretive ranger-led hikes and evening programs that our staff will offer this weekend, as well as the Junior and Senior Ranger and Junior Paleontologist programs that we offer for young people.”

“National parks preserve places that commemorate our country's collective heritage – our ideals, our majestic lands, our sacred sites, our patriotic icons – which our military has defended through the years,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We are grateful for the service and sacrifice of military members, past and present, and honored to tell their story at many of our national parks.”

From frontier forts to World War II battlefields, more than 70 national parks have direct connections to the military. These include our earliest national parks where army engineers designed park roads and buildings and the cavalry enforced regulations from 1886 until the National Park Service was established in 1916.

The Veterans Day weekend is the last of the National Park Service entrance fee free days for 2012. More information is available at http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.

The park's schedule of activities for the weekend follows:

Friday, November 9

  • 7:00 PM. From High Tide to High Desert: Water in the Guadalupes Evening Program.  Pine Springs Visitor Center Auditorium. 1 hour. Free.

Saturday, November 10

  • 8:00 AM. Peak Fitness Challenge Guided Hike to the Bow.  Meet at the Pine Springs Trailhead at 7:45 AM. 9.3 miles roundtrip, steep and strenuous. Bring water (at least one gallon per person is recommended), food, sunscreen, and wear sturdy footwear. Dress in layers. Trekking poles are recommended. Hike may be cancelled due to inclement weather. 6-8 hours. Free. Visit Peak Fitness Challenge for more information or to register.
  • 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Frijole Ranch Cultural History Museum Open.  Learn about the peoples who have inhabited and passed through the Guadalupe Mountains throughout the years. The museum includes exhibits on the Mescalero Apache and U.S. Cavalry, including the famed Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry who patrolled the Guadalupes and maintained a supply depot in Pine Springs.
  • 7:00 PM. Spirit of the Mountains: Our American Cougar.  Evening Program. Pine Springs Campground Amphitheater. In case of inclement weather, this program will be moved to the Pine Springs Visitor Center Auditorium. 1 hour. Free.

Sunday, November 11

  • 10:00 AM. Peak Fitness Challenge Guided Fall Colors Hike to Smith Springs.  Meet at the Frijole Ranch Trailhead at 9:45 AM. 2.3 miles roundtrip, moderately strenuous. Bring water (at least one gallon per person is recommended), food, sunscreen, and wear sturdy footwear. Hike may be cancelled due to inclement weather. 2 hours. Visit Peak Fitness Challenge for more information or to register.

The park will waive entrance fees for hikers; however, the $8.00 fees for camping will still apply. For more information about Guadalupe Mountains National Park, please call the Pine Springs Visitor Center at (915) 828-3251 x2124 or visit the official park website Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park Facebook Page or Guadalupe Mountains National Park Meetup Group. The Pine Springs Visitor Center is open every day, except Christmas, from 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM (8:00 AM until 6:00 PM from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day).

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