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Interior Secretary visits Crater Lake for National Park Week

 Posted: 10:40 AM April 17, 2014

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell plans Saturday to kick off the annual National Park Week from the rim at Crater Lake.

Jewell plans to go cross-country skiing with Crater Lake National Park's volunteer ski patrol and then accompany a Eugene school group on an educational snowshoe walk as part of her visit, park Superintendent Craig Ackerman said.

The National Park Service's annual National Park Week begins Saturday and runs through April 27. Fees will be waived Saturday and Sunday at Crater Lake and 132 other national parks across the country.

The remaining 268 national parks don't charge entry fees, according to the National Park Service.

This year's National Park Week theme is "Go Wild," in which Jewell will encourage people to visit and interact with national parks.

The National Park Service recently released a report that in 2012 national parks generated $26.75 billion in economic activity and supported 243,000 jobs across the country. This included $45 million in economic activity in communities near Crater Lake that supported 551 jobs, according to the parks service.

The former chief executive of the outdoor gear company REI, Jewell was sworn in a year ago as the secretary overseeing agencies with more than 70,000 employees that manage more than 20 percent of the nation's lands, according to the Interior Department.

Agencies under the secretary include the Bureau of Land Management, the Park Service and the national wildlife refuge system, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation.

National Park Week coincides with Tuesday's Earth Day celebrations as well the Park Service's National Junior Ranger Day on April 26.

— Mark Freeman

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