Thanking America’s Armed Forces: Active Duty U.S. Military Offered Free Entrance to All National Parks
Contact: Jennie Albrinck, 605-433-5240
BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK and MINUTEMAN MISSILE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE, S.D. -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 honor the sacrifices our warriors and their families have made to this country. I know a visit to the Badlands can bring peace and happiness when we need it the most," said Badlands National Park Superintendent Eric Brunnemann.
Visitors are encouraged to attend one of the daily ranger programs offered May 29 through September 10. Fossils Talks and Junior Ranger Programs are especially popular for families with children. The Night Sky Program is a must-see and is held Friday through Monday after the 9 pm Evening Ranger Program in the Cedar Pass Campground. For more information on planning a visit, see www.nps.gov/badl.
Active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents can pick up their pass at any Badlands National Park entrance booth. They must show a current, valid military identification card to obtain their pass. More information is available at www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site does not charge an entrance fee, so passes are not required but can be picked up at Badlands.
"Minuteman Missile National Historic Site tells a contemporary military story that is directly connected to our airmen at neighboring Ellsworth Air Force Base," stated Superintendent Ruben Andrade.
Minuteman Missile will offer tours of its Delta-1 Launch Control Center daily at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Missile silo Delta-9 (I-90, Exit 116) is also open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tour tickets are given out on a first come, first served basis by coming to the Visitor Center, located in Cactus Flat, off I-90 at Exit 13, adjacent to the Conoco gas station.
This military version of the
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.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for
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Did You Know?
To the Lakota, this harsh and desolate landscape was known as "mako sica," meaning “land bad." Early French trappers similarly described the area as “bad lands to travel across." Today, geologists consider all the places in the world with similar topography and formation badlands.