- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Military families to get free national parks pass
Question of the Day
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Active-duty military personnel and their dependents will soon be able to enter every national park for free as part of an effort to thank service members and their families for the sacrifices they make, the Interior Department announced Tuesday.
An annual pass will be made available to members of the military free of charge beginning Saturday, which is Armed Forces Day. The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass ordinarily costs $80. It provides access to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands.
The initiative is being marked with a Tuesday ceremony at Colonial National Historical Park in Yorktown, Va., the site of the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War. The park is nestled in a region of Virginia that plays host to all five branches of the military, including the world’s largest naval base.
“I think when one goes into Virginia and you see all the sites, the Yorktown battlefield and the whole history of the country, it’s important that those who have fought in the tradition of making sure the nation’s democracy and freedom are protected also have access to these wonderful sites there,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a conference call with reporters in advance of the announcement.
The National Park Service estimates that giving away the passes to service members and their families will result in a revenue loss between $2 million and $6 million. The passes allow the owner and passengers in a single private vehicle access to sites that charge per vehicle. At sites where entrance fees are charged per-person, it covers the pass owner and three adults age 16 and older.
“We collect about $150 million in fees nationwide, so we don’t think that this amount of decrease will be significant to the overall operations of the service,” said Jon Jarvis, director of the National Park Service.
Military personnel can get the passes at any national park or wildlife refuge that charges an entrance fee by showing their military ID. Each family member will also be able to obtain their own pass even if the service member is deployed or if they are traveling separately.
The pass will be accepted at National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees.
The free pass will be made available for activated members of the National Guard and Reserves, but not for military veterans or retirees.
The effort compliments the Joining Forces initiative being spearheaded by first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, to support military families.
“Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to our servicemen and women who make great sacrifices to protect our country and preserve our freedom,” Jill Biden said. “In recognition of their service, we are so pleased to be putting out a welcome mat for our military families at America’s most beautiful and storied sites.”
Online: America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass: http://store.usgs.gov/pass/index.html.
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- House backs faster deportations, cancels 'Dreamer' policy
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors