Veterans, Gold Star Families, and 5th Graders Granted Free Access to National Parks
A study recently found that nearly 60% of Americans reported a new found appreciation for nature during quarantine. Many of us have relied on fresh air to boost our moods and improve our mental health from all the stress of 2020.
The Department of Interior's announcement on Wednesday comes at a perfect time - when people are needing nature most. The federal government will be waiving fees on national parks, wildlife refuges and other federal lands for three groups of people: veterans, Gold Star families, and 5th graders!
Those who have worked for the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves and any point in time, as well as the immediate family members of fallen service members will have free access to all national parks beginning on Veterans Day, Nov. 11th.
“With the utmost respect and gratitude, we are granting veterans and Gold Star Families free access to the iconic and treasured lands they fought to protect starting this Veteran’s Day and every single day thereafter,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt said in a statement on Wednesday.
That's 2,000 public parks and locations across 400 million acres to hike, fish, bike, hunt, and more!
Fifth graders and their families are also having fees waived by the department since they weren't able to use a special pass that is typically designated for fourth grade students. These students missed out on this opportunity last spring because parks were closed due to the pandemic. The waiver is effective now and will be good through August 2021.