PUBLISHED: 11:38 AM on Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Free day at the Glacier
The U.S. Forest Service will celebrate National Public Lands Day on Saturday, with special kids' programs and guided hikes at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. Saturday the center will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and the $3 admission fee will be waived

Ranger Dick Callahan will host the weekly one-hour Kids Day program at 11 a.m. in the outdoor covered viewing area. Youngsters aged 4-6, accompanied by an adult, are invited to learn about "Bear Necessities."

Throughout the day rangers will conduct guided hikes on Mendenhall Glacier recreation area trails, including East Glacier, Trail of Time and the new elevated salmon viewing trail along Steep Creek

The glacier staff will also show kids' movies in the auditorium from 1-3 p.m. for children and their adult companions.

These events are part of the 12th annual National Public Lands Day, a fee-free day at the glacier. Nationally, Americans dedicate this day to donate their effort to give back to the very lands they use to hike, bike, walk dogs, climb, swim, explore, picnic or just plain relax. As many as 90,000 Americans are expected at 650 sites for NPLD in 2005, to preserve and protect their favorite public places for themselves and future generations.

By educating volunteers at sites across the country, NPLD maintains the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps, an army of 3 million Americans who in the 1930s countered the devastation of the Dust Bowl and the American chestnut blight by planting more than three billion trees, building 800 state parks and fighting forest fires.

With the exception of Tuesday, when the regular fee will be charged and the center will open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., winter hours will begin Sunday. From that time the center will be open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the admission fee is suspended.