Lowell, MA -To show appreciation for those who serve in the U.S. Military, on May 19 - Armed Forces Day - the National Park Service will begin issuing freeannual passes for active duty military members and their dependents. The annual pass allows free entrance to any park charging an entrance fee and may offer discounted admission to museums and other historic sites administered by the National Park Service.
This military version of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass also applies 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 where entrance fees are charged. The pass is also available at these locations.
Active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents can pick up their pass at Lowell National Historical Park's visitor center located at 246 Market Street, Lowell Massachusetts. The visitor center is open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm.They must show a current, valid military identification card to obtain their pass. More information about uses of this pass is available atwww.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm.
Different categories of fees are charged in national parks across the country. The annual pass for military, like other national public lands passes, applies to those locations with entrance fees. At Lowell National Historical Park, the visitor center, trolley rides, walking tours, and the Mill Girls and Immigrants Exhibit are always fee free. The Boott Cotton Mills Museum and canal boat tours charge a nominal special exhibit and tour operating fee. Interagency Annual Pass holders, including the annual pass for military, receive discounted admission (50% off) at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum.
"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.