While travel plummeted and attendance at attractions of nearly every kind all but disappeared during the pandemic, one category of getaway soared: national park visits. As Americans rejoiced in outdoor activity that allowed social distancing and reconnected them to the country’s dramatic landscapes that most had taken for granted (or never even knew of to begin with), it quickly became clear that the only available pandemic activity wasn’t always cheap. With some parks commanding vehicle entry fees of $35 or more, checking even a handful off the bucket list could quickly add up. There may only be 63 sites solely titled “National Park,” but the National Park Service administers more than 423 national parks, forests, waterways, and more, offering sites in every state and several territories, so no one is too far from an outdoor escape. The America the Beautiful pass offers one year of entry to all national parks and federal recreation sites, totaling more than 2,000 locations, for a vehicle full of passengers or, where entrance is charged per person, up to 4 adults (children 15 and under are free), and BFGoodrich is giving away five passes this month with the Trails & Tails Sweepstakes. Here’s how to win one.
To snag a free America the Beautiful pass from BFGoodrich, you’ll need an Instagram account, a pet and a bit of luck. Take your pal into the great outdoors for an awesome adventure, snap a pic and post it to your account tagging @BFGoodrichTires and using #BFGTrailsandTails and #Sweepstakes, and you’ve officially entered. Only one entry per adult will qualify (even if you use multiple accounts) and your account must be public with your content posted in English in order to win, but few other rules apply. You have until the end of October 27th (EST) to enter, and complete terms and conditions can be found on the sweepstakes page here. Five grand prize winners will be contacted by Instagram DM to verify eligibility and claim their passes and a complete set of BFGoodrich Trail-Terrain T/A tires to upgrade their vehicles before their next national park adventure.
Before hitting the road with your best furry, scaly or feathered friend, take a look at these five important tips for outdoor pet time, provided by BFGoodrich:
Know your pet’s limits
If your pet isn’t accustomed to a life of outdoor adventure, it’s critical to chat with your vet before hitting the road. Beyond a check-up, your vet is likely to have some medical and/or behavioral advice for your best buddy, especially if your pet is young or elderly. Fun is fun, but safety first.
Every pet adventure should include, at a minimum, the following: pet first aid kit and pet-safe insect repellent; water supply and portable food and water bowls; collar with proper ID; waste bags; durable 6-foot leash; pet backpack for unseasoned adventure pets who may need breaks; and LED collar if your adventures will include nighttime outdoor exploration.
Water, water, water
Your pet will need plenty of water during your adventure and you’ll need to provide it all. Avoid natural sources of water like lakes or streams where waterborne pathogens can be dangerous or even fatal to your pet.
One of the greatest potential dangers to your animal is other animals, so stick a bell on your best friend’s collar to help warn wildlife of any approach, potentially preventing danger from startled critters. Animals include humans, who may also be accidental dangers during hunting season. If you’re adventuring during this time, pop a reflective vest on your little one.
Respect the rules
Your pets can experience most of the federal lands, but always check local rules and regulations before venturing out, and respect codes like those for leashes, waste removal and off-limits areas. By following the rules, you’ll keep your pet safe, protect the land and local wildlife, and help ensure pets will continue to be allowed on your unforgettable adventures.