Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has flung open the gates to national parks, waiving the entrance fees on 17 select dates in 2011. The first of those dates is this weekend, Jan. 15-17.

The 2011 fee-free dates will be the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 15-17), National Park Week (April 16-24), the first day of summer (June 21), National Public Lands Day (September 24), and the weekend of Veterans Day (November 11-13).

This first free park weekend is perfectly timed, not only because it’s Martin Luther King Day, and not only because many Southern national parks are blanketed with snow, but because we all made a resolution to get outside more in 2011. Right?