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National Parks offer free annual passes for military families

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on May 16, 2012 at 9:27 am |
May 16, 2012 9:27 am

Starting Saturday the National Park Service will offer free annual passes to U.S. military personnel and their dependents. The passes will be good at all 397 national parks.

Here’s a statement released today by the National Park Service and Mount Rainier National Park:

To show our appreciation for those who serve in the U.S.
Military, on May 19 – Armed Forces Day – the National Park Service will begin issuing an annual pass offering free entrance to all 397 national parks for active duty military members and their dependents.

“We all owe a debt to those who sacrifice so much to protect our country,” said Mount Rainier  National Park Superintendent Randy King. “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.”

Mount Rainier National Park has had a long-standing relationship with military units from Joint Base Lewis/McChord as well as other military groups, during search and rescue operations and joint training exercises.
In addition, during World War II. the famous 10th Mountain Division used
Mount Rainier as their training grounds to prepare for their assignments in
Europe.

Active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents can pick up
their pass at any park entrance.  They must show a current, valid military identification card to obtain their pass. More information is available at www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm.

Visit www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm for more information about the
military pass. The pass is also available at any other national park which
charges  an entrance fee.  Find a list of national parks with entrance fees
at http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparksbystate.htm.

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 also
available at these locations.

“Through the years, military members, especially those far from home in
times of conflict, have found inspiration in America’s patriotic icons and
majestic landscapes, places like the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon
that are cared for by the National Park Service and symbolize the nation
that their sacrifices protect,” said National Park Service Director
Jonathan B. Jarvis. “This new pass is a way to thank military members and
their families for their service and their sacrifices.”

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.

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