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Celebrate Presidents Day Weekend at Shenandoah National Park

Luray, VA - In celebration of Presidents Day, the Harry F. Byrd Sr. Visitor Center at Big Meadows (mile 51 on Skyline Drive) in Shenandoah National Park will be open from Saturday, February 15 through Monday, February 17, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Rangers will be available to answer questions and help plan visitor trips. Movies, exhibits, and the bookstore are available. Backcountry camping permits may also be obtained during open hours.

The Presidents Day Weekend (February 15 to 17) is a fee-free weekend at all National Park Service sites. During this time, all entrance fees into Shenandoah National Park are waived. For a list of all fee-free days, please visit the park’s website.

Weather and road conditions permitting, the Byrd Visitor Center will continue to be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays until the visitor center opens for daily operation on Saturday, March 29, 2014. In addition to Byrd Visitor Center, the following picnic grounds are open, weather permitting: Elkwallow, Pinnacles, South River, and Dundo. All other facilities are closed for the season.

Shenandoah National Park is an excellent place to explore in the winter. Animal tracks in the snow reveal the stories of wildlife; light glistens off frozen waterfalls; and solitude and natural quiet are easily found. Even visits to familiar locations become unique experiences for discovery and adventure.

Winter weather can be drastically different in higher elevations and along Skyline Drive than in the surrounding valleys. Please use caution when driving Skyline Drive or hiking in the park. Be prepared to encounter winter driving conditions, including snow and ice, at any time. Winter visitors need to be self-reliant. Keep extra, warm clothing in your car and wear layers when hiking. Visitors should bring plenty of water and food, as well as a flashlight, map, and crampons or traction coils for hiking boots.

Skyline Drive is open year round; however, the Drive may be temporarily closed on short notice for indefinite periods due to winter weather conditions. For the most current Skyline Drive status, call (540) 999-3500, choose Option 1, and then Option 1. Park staff also post real-time opening and closing information on Facebook and Twitter. In addition to Skyline Drive, many boundary locations provide access points for winter exploration.

There is a $10-per-vehicle entrance fee to the park from December through February, good for seven days. Rates increase to $15-per-vehicle on March 1. For more information about planning a trip to Shenandoah National Park, please see the park’s website or call the park at (540) 999-3500.

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