Gold Star families, veterans offered lifetime passes to public lands
Starting Veterans Day, Nov. 11, veterans of the U.S. Armed Services and Gold Star Families can obtain a lifetime pass providing free entrance to national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands, the Biden-Harris Administration announced today.
The Alexander Lofgran Veterans in Parks Act passed in December 2021 to authorize the new lifetime passes for veterans and Gold Star Families.
Each liftetime pass covers entrance fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle, or a passholder and up to three adults at sites that charge per person, at national parks and national wildlife refugees, and also standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to the White House.
To receive a pass, veterans can visit participating federal recreation area that typically charge an entrance fee — like Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Big Bend National Park, or Carlsbad Caverns National Park — and present one of four forms of acceptable ID: a Department of Defense ID Card; Veteran Health ID (VHIC); Veteran ID Card, or veteran’s designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or ID card. Gold Star Families can obtain information, self-certify they qualify and download a voucher on NPS.gov.
Separate free annual passes have been available to active duty servicemembers and their families since Armed Forces Day, May 19, 2012.
“We have a sacred obligation to America’s veterans,” said Secretary Deb Haaland, whose father served during the Vietnam War. “This new lifetime pass is a small demonstration of our nation’s gratitude and support for those who have selflessly served in the U.S. Armed Forces. I’m proud the Department of the Interior can provide veterans and Gold Star Families opportunities for recreation, education and enjoyment from our country’s treasured lands.”
NOTE: fee-free entrance days foreveryone occur on certain days of the year, including holidays such as the upcoming Veterans Day.