The USDA Forest Service will recognize the service of America’s veterans by waiving standard amenity fees for all visitors to national forest and grassland day-use areas on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
“Many veterans spend time with their families and connect with nature while hiking, hunting, boating, and exploring the range of outdoor recreation opportunities national forests and grasslands have to offer,” said Tracy Calizon, regional assistant director of recreation for the U.S. Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest.
Making Veterans Day a fee-free day gives everyone an opportunity to reflect on the service of the nation’s veterans while spending time on America’s public lands, she said.
The Forest Service offers fee-free access a few times each year to encourage everyone to explore educational and recreation opportunities available on national forests and grasslands.
On fee-free days, standard amenity fees normally charged for day use sites, such as picnic areas, developed trailheads, and destination visitor centers, are waived. The waiver does not apply to special recreation permits, cabin rentals, or campground reservations, nor does it include expanded amenity fees charged for certain highly-developed sites, service charges, or fees assessed by independent concessionaires operating on National Forest land.
Approximately 98 percent of national forest land can be enjoyed fee-free, year-round. Where fees are assessed, more than 80 percent of these funds are reinvested at the site where they’re collected, where they provide for necessary maintenance and services or are saved to pay for future improvements.
Fee-free public lands access, including access to National Forests and Grasslands, is available year-round to U.S. military service members and their families, veterans, and Gold Star family members.
The Interagency Military Pass is available at no cost to all active-duty military personnel and their families. This pass is honored nationwide at all Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Fish & Wildlife Service sites charging standard amenity or entrance fees.
Veterans may present an approved ID at any Forest Service location selling interagency annual passes to receive an Interagency Veterans Pass that is valid for one year from the date of issue. Forms of accepted ID include a valid Department of Defense Identification Card (CAC Card), Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC), Veterans Affairs ID Card, or a Veteran designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card. (Veterans presenting proof of disability may also be eligible for a no-cost Interagency Access Pass, which has no expiration date.)
Gold Star family members who meet the criteria identified in sections 3.2 and 3.3 of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36 may self-certify their eligibility by printing a voucher at this link <https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/veterans-and-gold-star-families-free-access.htm>. The voucher is valid for waiver of entrance fees or standard amenity fees when presented it in person or displayed on their vehicle dashboard when visiting sites where entrance or day-use fees are normally charged.
Source: U.S. Forest Service