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Contact: Charles Beall, 360-854-7302To show 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 all owe a debt to those who sacrifice so much to protect our country," said North Cascades National Park Complex Acting Superintendent Charles Beall. "We are proud to recognize these brave men and women, and although this national park does not have an entrance fee, we are excited to offer this pass to encourage active duty military members and their families to unwind, relax, rejuvenate, and just have fun in their national parks."
Active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents can pick up their pass at park information and visitor centers in Sedro-Woolley, Marblemount, Newhalem, and Stehekin. Visit http://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm for locations of these facilities and their hours of operation.
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. Visit www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm to learn more about the series of passes available to you.
"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.