Herrera Beutler Introduces Bill to Allow Veterans, Active Duty Military, Gold Star Families Free Access to National and Public Parks
Washington, July 1, 2021
Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) today helped introduce legislation, the Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act, to give veterans and Gold Star Families free lifetime access to national parks and public federal lands and give active-duty military free annual passes.
“While we will never be able to fully repay our brave men and women for donning the uniform and serving our nation, one small token of appreciation is to ensure that they, and Gold Star Family members, are able to visit our national parks and public lands free of charge,” Herrera Beutler said. “The bill I’m helping introduce in Congress, the Veterans in Parks Act, will do just that so our military members and their families can freely visit our beautiful national parks that they so bravely fought to defend.”
The America the Beautiful Pass provides access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges. This includes some of the country's most iconic natural treasures, ranging from Acadia National Park to the Redwood National Forest.
The VIP Act would allow all veterans, active duty servicemembers, and Gold Star Families to visit all national parks and public lands free of charge. In 2020, the America the Beautiful annual pass became free for veterans and Gold Star Families; however, this change for veterans has never been put into law and could be undone in future years.
The VIP Act protects these for veterans passes by codifying them and making them lifetime passes instead of annual passes. Finally, the VIP Act also creates annual passes for current servicemembers, which can be converted into lifetime passes once they leave the military.