This week, the National Park Service has begun issuing annual passes offering free entrance to all 397 national parks for active duty military members and their families. They must show a current, valid military identification card to obtain their pass.
More information is available at www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm. Refunds will not be given to members of the military who purchased Interagency Annual passes prior to May 19.
This military version of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass also permits free entrance to sites managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Forest Service.
“Through the years, military members, especially those far from home in times of conflict, have found inspiration in America’s patriotic icons and majestic landscapes, places like the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon that are cared for by the National Park Service and symbolize the nation that their sacrifices protect,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “This new pass is a way to thank military members and their families for their service and their sacrifices.”
National parks and the military have strong ties going back to the establishment of Yellowstone as the world’s first national park in 1872. The U.S. Cavalry watched over America’s national parks and did double duty, serving as the first park rangers until the National Park Service was created 44 years later.
During World War II, many parks were set aside for the training and care of military personnel. Today, dozens of national parks commemorate military battles and achievements.
Learn more at www.nps.gov.