For folks looking for vacation destinations this summer, this is the first year service members, veterans and their families can access National Parks and other government land free of charge — without having to renew the pass each year.
The Interagency Military Pass covers entrance fees at a variety of government lands, including the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Instead of renewing the pass each year, families can receive a lifetime pass.
“We have a sacred obligation to America’s veterans,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a statement announcing the plan in November.
“I’m proud the Department of the Interior can provide veterans and Gold Star Families opportunities for recreation, education and enjoyment from our country’s treasured lands,” she added.
Lifetime pass holders will not have to pay entrance fees for all passengers in the vehicle entering the land, according to the statement. Veterans can present a DoD identification card, Veteran Health identification card, Veteran identification card or a driver’s license with a veteran’s designation to get a lifetime pass.
The new lifetime pass is part of the Alexander Lofgren Veterans in Parks Act, which passed in December 2021, according to the statement. The legislation authorized free lifetime access to federal lands for veterans. This pass is an alternative to the annual Military Pass.
The Military Pass has been available to active-duty service members since 2012. In 2022, the National Park Service recorded nearly 312 million visits to its 424 NPS sites.
Zamone “Z” Perez is a rapid response reporter and podcast producer at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.