Veterans, Gold Star Families get free entrance to National Parks
Find out how and when you may be eligible for free access to our National Parks system
WADENA — 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, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites are waived for current Military Service-members and their dependents, Veterans and Gold Star Families, according to the National Park Service website.
They now 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.
Are you eligible?
For purposes of this program, a Veteran is identified as an individual who has served in the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, and is able to present one of the following forms of valid (unexpired) 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 United States while serving with the United States Armed Forces.The America the Beautiful the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass (Interagency Pass) Program. The Interagency Pass Program already includes a free annual pass for active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents. Current Military Service-members must show a valid (unexpired) Department of Defense ID. Dependents of current Service-members must show a valid (unexpired) DD Form 1173 AD or DEC.
The annual Military Pass has been expanded to include Veterans and Gold Star Family members.
Other free or discounted passes, including some lifetime passes, are available for persons with permanent disabilities, fourth grade students, volunteers, and senior citizens age 62 years or older.
Interagency passes can be obtained in person while visiting a participating site. Visit "Places to Get Interagency Passes" for a searchable list and be sure to contact the site before you go, to make sure they are open and have passes in stock. In addition, military passes, as well as those for seniors and persons with permanent disabilities, are available online through the USGS Online Store. For more information about eligibility and passes, visit "Free Entrance to National Parks for Veterans and Gold Star Families" at nps.gov.
The participating agencies also offer several fee-free days for everyone throughout the year to mark days of celebration and commemoration. Examples of fee-free days include the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., National Public Lands Day, Veterans Day, and the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act.
Fee-free days and fee policies vary among the agencies, so it’s best to check the agency website or contact the site you plan to visit in advance of your trip.
If you have questions, your local Wadena County Veterans Service Officer can help. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by email at email@example.com.