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Contact: Kris Fister, (907) 683-9583
To show our appreciation for those who serve in the U.S. Military, on Saturday, 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 all owe a debt to those who sacrifice so much to protect our country," said National Park Service Alaska Regional Director Sue Masica. "We are proud to recognize these brave men and women and hope that a visit to a national park will offer an opportunity to unwind, relax, rejuvenate, and just have fun with their families."
In Alaska, only Denali National Park and Preserve charges an entrance fee ($10 per person, ages 16 and older). The fee provides the visitor with an entrance permit valid for seven days. Several other national parks in Alaska have fees associated with particular amenities, such as camping, but these are not covered by the military pass. Denali NP visitors reserving shuttle bus seats online should look for instructions on how the fee waiver will be applied.
Active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents can pick up their pass at Denali National Park, at the park's ranger station in Talkeetna, or at the Alaska Public Lands information Center in Anchorage or Fairbanks. They must show a current, valid military identification card to obtain their pass. More information is available at www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm. The pass can also be obtained at any national park which charges an entrance fee. A list of national parks with entrance fees in the Lower 48 is available at https://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparksbystate.htm.
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 those 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 (including Denali) were set aside for the training and care of military personnel. Today, dozens of national parks commemorate military battles and achievements.