The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has declared that its military veterans and gold star families will be bestowed a lifetime of free access to national parks, federal lands, and wildlife refuges overseen by the Department of the Interior. It will commence today on Veterans Day.

Lifetime Pass to National Parks

According to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, "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," reported Sunny Skyz.

The department announced on Tuesday that individuals who are eligible could get the national park passes.

All Veterans and Gold Star Families will acquire "America The Beautiful" passes. It would give them free access to all national parks, including Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Mt. Rushmore.

Interior Secretary Bernhardt said the lifetime passes would enable veterans to visit "the iconic and treasured lands they fought to protect," reported 99.5 QYK.

For disabled veterans residing stateside, 2020 could be their year for outdoor recreation. It is because the National Parks Service is offering disabled veterans an excellent deal on their next visit.

As COVID-19 cases again surge throughout the U.S., the outdoors is still a safe oasis for Americans, particularly for people tackling anxiety or depression because of the global health crisis.

The access passes currently cost $80 annually. The passes grant entry to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites spread across over 400 million acres of public lands.

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America the Beautiful would waive entrance fees for the National Park Service. It also includes entrance to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and standard amenity recreation fees.

To get the free pass, veterans should provide a form of identification proving they were a member of the United States National Guard and Reserves and armed forces. 

Gold Star families, on the other hand, are those who dealt with the loss of a family member who was of service in a military operation or war outside of the country or in an international terrorist attack.

Veterans and gold star families would be granted free access to an estimated 2,000 public locations across public lands that host activities suitable for any lifestyle, from serene to dynamic. These involve fishing, hiking, biking, paddling, hunting, stargazing, and climbing.

Veterans are tasked to present one of the following forms of identification:

  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
  • Department of Defense Identification Card
  • Veterans designation on a state-issued U.S. driver's license or identification card
  • Veteran ID Card

Numerous department managed lands have direct associations with the American military, including Cold War sites, frontier forts, national cemeteries, battlefields, and memorials. Such special places commemorate veterans and serve as reminders of their bravery and sacrifice in the history of the United States.

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