Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, this week helped introduce the Veterans in Parks Act, which would give veterans and Gold Star Families free lifetime access to national parks and public federal lands. Active duty military members would get free annual passes under the plan.
“While we will never be able to fully repay our brave men and women for donning the uniform and serving our nation, one small token of appreciation is to ensure that they, and Gold Star Family members, are able to visit our national parks and public lands free of charge,” Herrera Beutler said in a news release. “The bill I’m helping introduce in Congress, the Veterans in Parks Act, will do just that so our military members and their families can freely visit our beautiful national parks that they so bravely fought to defend.”
The America the Beautiful Pass provides access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, national forests and wildlife refuges.
In 2020, the America the Beautiful annual pass became free for veterans and Gold Star Families; however, this change for veterans has never been put into law and could be undone in future years, according to Herrera Beutler.