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NPS Grants Free Lifetime Entry to Veterans and Gold Star Families

World War veteranPhoto courtesy: National Park Service
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Free national park entrance for current and former service members and their families is no longer limited to just Veterans Day.

Especially with a pandemic, getting outside has been more important than ever. Unfortunately, not everyone has the means or access to visit our nation’s national parks. Now, for those who have served and their family members, national park access will be free for life.

In recognition of their service, the NPS already provides veterans free entry to national parks on Veterans Day. But this order, introduced by Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and signed by President Trump, will grant veterans free access year-round. National park passes normally run $80 per year (free for a disabled lifetime pass).

To get the free pass, veterans must provide some form of identification showing they were in the armed forces or the U.S. National Guard and Reserves. (The process is similar for state and other parks that provide discounts for veterans.) Gold Star families are those who have lost a family member serving in a war or military operation outside the U.S., or who died in an international terrorist attack.

The free admission will only apply to Gold Star families, veterans and their immediate family members, and those traveling with them.

“With the utmost respect and gratitude, we are granting Veterans and Gold Star families free access to the iconic and treasured lands they fought to protect starting this Veterans Day and every single day thereafter,” Secretary Bernhardt said.

The free admission applies to all national parks and to public lands and waterways managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

For more information on this new program, check out the NPS’ Plan Your Visit page with frequently asked questions.

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