Thanking America’s Armed Forces Active Duty U.S. Military Offered Free Entrance to All National Parks

US Military Pass and Ranger

Active duty U.S. Airforce members of the 6th Space Warning Squadron receive their passes through an outreach effort by New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.

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News Release Date: May 23, 2013
Contact: Emily Prigot, 508-996-4095 x6105

Thanking America's Armed Forces
Active Duty U.S. Military Offered Free Entrance to All National Parks 

NEW BEDFORD, MA - To show our appreciation for those who serve in the U.S. Military, and those who have served and whom we recall with gratitude on Memorial Day, the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park reminds military families that the National Park Service offers an annual pass offering free entrance to all 401 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 New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park Superintendent Jen Nersesian. "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." Active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents may pick up their pass at the park visitor center at 33 William Street in downtown New Bedford. They must show a current, valid military identification card to obtain their pass. More information is available at 

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.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.

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