State parks hold 3rd annual ‘Military Appreciation Day;’ free park entrance, activities

ST. GEORGE — The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation has announced its excitement to hold its third annual “Military Appreciation Day” Saturday.

As part of the celebration, active military, veterans and their family – occupying the same vehicle – will be allowed free day-use access to Utah state parks (standard fees will apply to This is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City). Many of these parks will also be hosting fun events to celebrate.

Military flags are displayed in this photo from Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Kanab, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation, St. George News

Some of the activities for Military Appreciation Day include pancake breakfasts, 5K races, flag ceremonies, canoe rentals, disc golf tournaments and more.

“We have set this day aside to honor those currently serving in the military as well as those who have served in the past,” State Parks Deputy Director Jeff Rasmussen said. “Their sacrifices have given us the freedoms and safety that we all enjoy day in and day out. We think it’s important to recognize their service and dedication.”

Visiting a state park in the local community is always a great choice, Rasmussen said, but experiencing a new park can bring a whole new element of fun. With 43 different state parks and plenty of activities to enjoy, everyone is sure to find their next adventure.

Activities at Southern Utah parks include:

  • Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park: Flags displayed throughout the park.
  • Dead Horse Point State Park Flag: lowering ceremony at 6:00 p.m. Ranger led sunset hike after the flag ceremony.
  • Frontier Homestead State Park Museum: Special activities offered throughout the park.
  • Sand Hollow Complex (Sand Hollow, Gunlock and Quail Creek): 
    • Free paddle board rental, hot dogs and even sno-cones from 9a.m.-1 p.m. at Gunlock and Quail Creek.
    • Ultimate Dive Challenge at Sand Hollow State Park.
    • Contact the parks directly at 435-680-0715 for more information.
  • Snow Canyon State Park: Flags displayed throughout the park.

Visit the Utah State Parks website for an updated list of the fun activities planned for Military Appreciation Day. The list is updated periodically, so be sure to check back as the celebration draws closer.

If you would like more information on a certain parks activities, visit the individual park web pages and click their “Events” tab.

Qualified veterans may also be eligible for an Annual Utah State Parks Veterans With Disabilities Honor Pass.

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