Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

Veterans can visit national parks free for a lifetime. What to know about new pass

Yosemite National Park is closed to visitors due to the coronavirus, COVID-19. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Veterans and their families have the opportunity to access the nation’s parks and public lands free for the rest of their lives.

Starting on Veterans Day, military veterans and their families can get the free lifetime pass at any national park that would normally charge an entrance fee, according to a Nov. 8 news release.

Fees are waived for all visitors on Veterans Day, McClatchy News previously reported.

The passes cover entry to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across more than 400 million acres of public lands, which includes national parks, wildlife refuges and forests, the release said.

A driver and all passengers in a car or the person with the pass and up to three adults will gain free admission at national parks and wildlife refuges. They also won’t have to pay amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, plus at lands the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manage, the release said.

“This pass conveys our immense gratitude and respect for those who have given so much,” National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said in the release. “As a veteran, I know firsthand the many sacrifices that members of the Armed Forces and their families have made in service to our country, and I am thrilled that Gold Star Families and military veterans can now enjoy lifetime access to national parks and other public lands.”

To obtain their pass, veterans can show their veteran ID: a Department of Defense ID Card, a Veteran Health ID (VHIC), a Veteran ID Card or a “veteran’s designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or ID card,” the release said. Gold Star families can download a voucher on that says they meet the requirements.

The free lifetime access is a result of the Alexander Lofgran Veterans in Parks Act, passed in December 2021. It’s an addition to the free annual Military Pass, which active duty members and their families have been able to get since Armed Forces Day, May 19, 2012, the release said.

The National Park Service also offers lifetime passes for seniors and those with disabilities.

“Though they can never be fully repaid, by connecting the families of the fallen and those who served with these iconic places, we can, in a small way, say thank you,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the release.


© 2022 The Charlotte Observer

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC