On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, and every day, US military veterans and Gold Star Families get FREE access to national parks, wildlife refuges, historic sites and other Federal lands.
They will have free access to approximately 2,000 public locations spread out across more than 400 million acres of public lands, with a wide range of scenic delights, and activities to fit any lifestyle, from serene to high octane, including hiking, fishing, paddling, biking, hunting, stargazing and climbing.
It includes all lands managed by the Department of the Interior, including the National Park Service.
Many parks and historic sites have direct connections to the American military, such as frontier forts, Civil War sites, battlefields, national cemeteries, and memorials.
These special NPS sites pay tribute to veterans and serve as reminders of their courage and sacrifice throughout the history of our nation. Just three examples –
Minuteman National Historic Park
Where colonists stood in defense of their rights.
Yellowstone National Park
Which was protected from vandalism and poaching by the 1st U.S. Cavalry before the National Park Service was established.
Where modern warriors attend reenlistment ceremonies.
For purposes of this FREE admission program, a veteran is identified as an individual who has served in the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, and is able to present one of the following forms of identification:
- Department of Defense Identification Card
- Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
- Veteran ID Card
- Veterans designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card
Gold Star Families are next of kin of a member of the United States Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a “qualifying situation,” such as a war, an international terrorist attack, or a military operation outside of the United States while serving with the United States Armed Forces.
Other Free Passes for US Military & Seniors
The Interagency America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program already includes a free annual pass for active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents.
Other free or discounted passes are available for persons with permanent disabilities, fourth grade students, volunteers, and senior citizens age 62 years or older.
The Natioanal Park Service also offers free entrance days for everyone throughout the year to mark days of celebration and commemoration including the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., National Public Lands Day, Veterans Day, and the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act.
How many national parks and historic sites have you visited?
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and guidebook and smartphone app author – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
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