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Veterans, Gold Star families to get free entry for life to national parks
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Veterans, Gold Star families to get free entry for life to national parks

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Veterans and Gold Star families are getting a free pass to national parks, wildlife refuges and other federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior, starting on Veterans Day.

They will then have free access for life to nearly 2,000 public locations spread across 400 million acres of land.

National park

Starting on Veterans Day, veterans and Gold Star families can visit national parks for free.

"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 Veterans Day and every single day thereafter," said Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt.

Veterans are identified as individuals who have served in the the U.S. armed forces, including the National Guard and Reserves.

Gold Star families are the next of kin of a member of the U.S. armed forces who lost his or her life in a "qualifying situation," which would be a war, an international terrorist attack or a military operation outside of the U.S. while serving, according to a news release.

Many lands managed by the Department of Interior have direct connections to the military.

Yellowstone National Park was protected from vandalism and poaching by the 1st US Cavalry before the National Park Service was established, and modern military personnel attend reenlistment ceremonies at Mount Rushmore.

A photographic tribute to veterans lost to the coronavirus

Seeking to capture moments of private mourning at a time of global isolation, Associated Press photographer David Goldman visited the homes of 12 families struggling to honor spouses, parents and siblings during a lockdown that has sidelined many funeral traditions.


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