National Parks offering vets free entrance

ADDISON COUNTY — Starting on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, veterans of the U.S. military and Gold Star Families will be granted free access to national parks, wildlife refuges and other federal lands.
The move, announced by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt last week, follows the introduction of the Gold Star Families Parks Pass Act in Congress earlier this year by Democratic, Republican and Independent members of Congress.
“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 in a press release.
Entrance fees for the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and standard amenity recreation fees for the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation sites will be waived for veterans and Gold Star Families. They will have free access to approximately 2,000 public locations spread out across more than 400 million acres of public lands, which host activities to fit any lifestyle, from serene to high octane, including hiking, fishing, paddling, biking, hunting, stargazing and climbing.
For purposes of this program, a veteran is identified as an individual who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, and is able to present one of the following forms of identification:
•  Department of Defense Identification Card
•  Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
•  Veteran ID Card
•  Veterans designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card.
Gold Star Families are next of kin of a member of the United States Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a “qualifying situation,” such as a war, an international terrorist attack, or a military operation outside of the U.S. while serving with the U.S. Armed Forces.
A program already includes a free annual pass for active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents. The Department of the Interior also offers free entrance days for everyone on a few nationally important days, including Veterans Day.

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