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To show our appreciation for those who serve in the U.S. Military, on May 19- Armed Forces Day- the National PArks 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 Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Randy King. "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."
Mount Rainier National Park has had a long-standing relationship with military units from Joint Base Lewis/McChord as well as other military groups during search and rescue operations and joint training exercises. In addition, during World War II, the famous 10th Mountain Division used Mount Rainier as their training grounds to prepare for their assignments in Europe.
Active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents can pick up their pass at any park entrance. They must show a current, valid military identification card to obtain their pass. More information is available at www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm.
Visit www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm for more information about the military pass. The pass is also available at any other national park which charges an entrance fee. Find a list of national parks with entrance fees at http://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 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 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 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local hsitory and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.