Under a new effort by the Department of the Interior, any active service member can get a free pass to parks, forests and other natural wonders across the country.
As part of the Joining Forces initiative to support our nation’s service members and their families, several U.S. government agencies announced an annual pass to active duty service members and their dependents, granting free access to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and other public lands around the nation in the coming years.
“First Lady Michelle Obama and I started the Joining Forces initiative last year as a way to honor, recognize and support our veterans and military families,” said Dr. Jill Biden. “This effort is a wonderful way to give something back, giving our military men and women and their families a chance to reconnect with their loved ones, experience the beauty of this country, and simply have a little fun.”
The new program begins on May 19th and covers any active-duty member of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and activated National Guard and Reserves. Service men and women can obtain the new military version of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass. The pass lasts for one year and gives any cardholder free admission and standard amenity fees.
“Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to our service men and -women who make great sacrifices and put their lives on the lines to protect our country and preserve our freedom,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “In recognition of their contributions and service, we are putting out a welcome mat for these brave men and women and their families at America’s most beautiful and storied sites.”
Service men natand women and their dependents can pick up a pass at any national park or wildlife refuge that charges an entrance fee or other selected sites. Members must show a current, valid military identification card to obtain their pass. The pass is also available to dependents of active duty personnel. A list of participating sites is available here.
Find more information about the program and how to get a free park pass, visit the National Park Service.