Preface: Although this program says Active Duty, it really is for active military including those from the Reserve Component. Go to any Park Service gate and show your ID. They will give you two passes, so you can give one to one of your dependents. I got mine at ‘Ohe’O (Seven Sacred Pools) in the Kipahulu part of Haleakala National Park. This is on the backside of Maui and you have to be pretty adventurous to get there. Make sure you have four-wheel drive, but totally worth it!
The National Park Service is recognizing the contributions and sacrifice of our service members by giving them and their families free admission to all our national parks.
“An annual pass will be made available to members of the military free of charge beginning Saturday, which is Armed Forces Day. The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass ordinarily costs $80. It provides access
to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands.” Announced a press release from the Interior Department as part of Armed Forces Day celebrations.
Pretty cool and I always like to see something done for the families. Even though we often hear how budgets are tight, the NPS is giving up an estimated $2-6 million in fees by doing this action. Military personnel or any of their family members can get the pass at any national park or wildlife refuge that charges entrance fees. The pass will be for active duty military or activated Reserve or National Guard service members and any member of their family. The service member does not need to be present for a dependent to get the pass.
To give credit where credit is due, this effort was spearheaded by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden. Ms. Biden said in a statement, “”Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to our servicemen and women who make great sacrifices to protect our country and preserve our freedom. In recognition of their service, we are so pleased to be putting out a welcome mat for our military families at America’s most beautiful and storied sites.”