U.S.

May 24, 2012

National parks free for active duty families

By Senior Airman Jack Sanders
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Active duty families can now take advantage of free passes granting entrance to all 397 national parks.

“We all owe a debt to those who sacrifice so much to protect our country,” said Lake Mead National Recreation Area Superintendent William K. Dickinson. “We are proud to recognize these brave men and women and hope that a visit to this or any national park will offer an opportunity to unwind, relax, rejuvenate, and just have fun with their families.”

The passes are available at park entrances or park service headquarters. Members must show current military ID to obtain passes.

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. The pass is issued by these participating agencies.

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

The pass covers fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at “per vehicle” fee areas, or up to four adults at “per person” fee areas. Children age 15 or younger are admitted free.

The pass does not cover or provide a discount on expanded amenity fees such as camping, boat launch or interpretive fees.

There is not a pass specifically for veterans. However, many veterans qualify for one of the other discount passes offered as part of the pass program.

The pass owner must be present when the pass is used, and it is not transferrable. One pass covers the vehicle at sites that charge “per vehicle.” At “per person” sites, the applicable fee will be charged for each additional person after the fourth.

Only the vehicle with the pass owner is covered. Second vehicles are subject to an entrance fee, or must have or purchase a second pass.

For motorcyclists, the pass permits entrance for the two individuals that sign it on two separate motorcycles. Identification must match the signatures of the pass owner(s). If only one pass owner is present the pass will admit only one motorcycle.

Generally, the pass owner and up to three other bicyclists can enter for free. Be sure to check with the recreation site you plan to visit before leaving, because there can be differences in the way a pass is honored at different sites.

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.

“The opportunity to visit the National Parks across America is an extraordinary gift to our military; yet it is a gift well deserved for the commitment our military have made to our Country and our people,” said Cate Berry, 99th Force Support Squadron marketing director.

“Nellis, Creech, and Nevada Test and Training Range personnel, can enjoy several national parks within only a few short hour’s drive,” she said. “Like our military, the National Parks are a treasure. Take advantage of this incredible gift.”

For frequently asked question about military national park passes visit http://www.store.usgs.gov/pass/military.html.




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