WASHINGTON, DC - Beginning today, Veterans Day, and going forward, Gold Star Families and U.S. military veterans will receive lifetime passes to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, wildlife refuges and forests, the National Parks Service said.

"The free access program is a way to thank America’s veterans and Gold Star families for their support of our country and to encourage them to explore recreational opportunities on their public lands and waters", said park officials.

Who is eligible to gain free entrance as a veteran?

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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 when entering a national park:

  • Department of Defense Identification Card (CAC Card)

  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)

  • Veteran ID Card

  • Veterans designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card

Who is eligible to gain free access as a member of a Gold Star Family?

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 the United States while serving with the United States Armed Forces.

Does the waiver include others traveling with the veteran or Gold Star Family member?

Free access is for the veteran or the holder of the Gold Star Family voucher as well as traveling companions who are occupants of a single, private non-commercial vehicle OR the veteran or voucher-holder and three persons (16 and older) where per person fees are charged. The voucher is non-transferrable and void if altered.

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