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Free admission to Yosemite and other national parks this weekend for Veterans Day

November 10, 2017

All of California’s national parks — from Yosemite to Pinnacles to Muir Woods — will waive entry fees on Saturday and Sunday to every member of the public to honor America’s veterans and the Veterans Day holiday.

The National Park Service has provided free admission for all visitors to every national park on Veterans Day since 2006.

“More than 100 national parks have direct connections to American military history, including frontier forts and Cold War sites, battlefields and national cemeteries, memorials and patriotic shrines,” said Michael Reynolds, acting director of the National Park Service. “These special places pay tribute to our veterans and serve as reminders of their selfless service and sacrifice throughout the history of our nation.”

Meanwhile, most of California’s state parks — from Big Basin Redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains to Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County — also will be free, but just on Saturday, and only to veterans who show ID at the gate.

Veterans, active duty and reserve military personnel and military retirees can show a current military ID, discharge papers or their Uniform Services ID card to receive free admission to state parks on Saturday.

Overall, 143 state parks will be free for veterans on Saturday. Those include 134 of the state’s most popular parks which charge vehicle entry fees and accept the “California Explorer” annual vehicle pass, along with eight recreation areas for off-road vehicle, like Hollister Hills in San Benito County and the State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

“California State Parks is proud to offer free admission on Veterans Day to all active military personnel and veterans as gratitude for their service,” said California State Park’s Director Lisa Mangat. “We welcome veterans to the amazing natural and cultural resources of our state’s parks.”

On the federal level, all 27 national park units in California and roughly 400 nationwide will be free everyone on Saturday and Sunday. Those include national parks like Yosemite or Sequoia-Kings Canyon, national historic sites like Fort Point in San Francisco or the John Muir home in Martinez, and national seashores, like Point Reyes in Marin County.

Veterans Day is observed every Nov. 11. It began to commemorate the end of World War I, when a truce, or armistice, was declared between Allied nations and Germany in France at 11 a.m. of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Congress made it an official federal holiday in 1938. For years, Americans celebrated it as “Armistice Day,” but in 1954 after the Korean War, its name was changed to “Veterans Day.”

The National Park Service also provides active duty military members and their dependents with a free annual national park pass, an $80 value. Permanently disabled veterans also can receive a free lifetime Access Pass to all national parks, forests and wildlife refuges.

California’s state parks system also issues a free lifetime pass called a “Distinguished Veteran Pass” for veterans who were disabled in combat, served as prisoners of war, or were awarded the Medal of Honor.

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© 2017 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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