Air Force

May 17, 2012

Free National Park entrance for military and family

Staff Sgt. Krystie Martinez and Justin Oakes
Air Combat Command Public Affairs

Military members and their families can now visit all National Parks, including Saguaro National Park located just outside of Tucson, for free. The U.S. Department of the Interior recently announced they are offering a free National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass to all military members and their families.

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — Members from all branches of the U.S. military gathered at the Colonial National Historical Park in Yorktown, Va. May 15, as the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar presented a unique opportunity for service members and their families.

The focus of the secretary’s announcement was free distribution of the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which allows military members and their families free entrance to public land sites.

“It is important to pay tribute to those who serve our country” said Salazar. “This is one small way of showing our appreciation.”

Each service selected one representative to receive the initial park pass during the ceremony.

“It’s an honor, I’m grateful that the Department of the Interior has offered this to active-duty military and their families,” said Master Sgt. Jason Simas, the Air Force representative and 633rd Contracting Squadron services and commodities deputy flight chief. “It’s a great way to show that they appreciate our service.”

The pass was made possible through the partnership and collaboration between the Office of the Secretary of Interior, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Parks Services.

Beginning on Armed Forces Day, May 19, the pass allows free entrance to 397 national park sites, 422 U.S. Army Corps of Engineer lake sites and an estimated 2,000 total park sites across the U.S. There is no limit on the number of sites you can see and each pass covers entrance or standard amenities fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle, per-vehicle fee areas.

It covers entrance fees at national parks, national wildlife refuges, as well as standard amenity fees at national forest and national grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation.

While the pass remains valid for one annual year, there are hopes that it will be available in future years to come.

“We have such an appreciation and huge support for our military.” Salazar said. “I am hopeful for the continuation of this effort.”

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