House introduces bill to give military families free lifetime access to national parks


Welcome sign at the entrance to Grand Teton National Park in Jackson Wyoming (Getty Images)

(WHNT) — A new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives could allow veterans and Gold Star families free lifetime access to national parks and public lands – and free annual passes to active-duty members of the military.

The bipartisan bill, brought to the floor by Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), creates the “America the Beautiful Pass” providing these service members and their families free access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, ranging from Acadia National Park to Redwood National Forest.

“As a 24-year Army veteran, I understand the sacrifices made by our military and their loved ones,” said Miller-Meeks. “We owe so much to our amazing servicemembers, veterans, and their families; my Veterans In Parks Act is the least we can do.”

In addition to creating the passes for service members and their families, it also codifies them and makes them last a lifetime. Last year, a similar measure was passed, but never put into law.

“As a veteran, I know firsthand the importance of national parks as a place of connection and healing when dealing with the visible and invisible wounds of war,” Gallego said. “I am proud to co-lead this bill and I will continue to fight for veteran accessibility and support on our nation’s public lands.”

The bill lists over 100 co-sponsors, including Alabama Reps. Mo Brooks, Barry Moore, and Jerry Carl.

To read the full legislation, click here.

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