Veterans, Gold Star families now get free admission to national parks

By JULIA JACOBO, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — Veterans and Gold Star families now can see even more of the country they and their family members have fought to defend.

The Military Veterans and Gold Star Family Free Access Program went into effect on Veterans Day, waiving entrance fees for national parks, wildlife refuges and other sites managed by the Department of the Interior, according to the National Parks Service.

Lands and waters managed by the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also are included.

“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,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt said in a statement after the program was announced last month.

Veterans with a Department of Defense identification card, Veteran Health identification card, Veteran ID card or a veterans designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card are eligible to for the program. In addition, Gold Star families are eligible with a family voucher.

The free admission covers traveling companions who are occupants of a single, private non-commercial vehicle or three people in addition to the holder of the voucher or identification card.

The program does not cover fees for camping, tours, special recreation permits or organized groups or concession-operated activities.

Current members of the military and their dependents can enter national parks for free by means of the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program.

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