Interior Department Grants Lifetime Free Access
to National Parks for Veterans and Gold Star families
THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR WASHINGTON
ORDER NO. 3387
Subject: Free Access to National Parks and Other Federal Lands Managed by the Department of the Interior for Veterans ofthe United States Armed Forces and Gold Star Families.
Sec. 1 Purpose. This Order is intended to ensure that veterans of the United States Armed Forces and Gold Star Families have free access to national parks and other Federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior (Department).
Sec. 2 Background. The Department manages approximately 20 percent of the land in the United States, serving nearly 500 million visitors per year, through the work and dedication of over 66,000 employees and 280,000 volunteers. The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (Public Law 108-447, “FLREA”), enacted in 2004, authorizes the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to collect and retain revenue for visitor access to Federal lands, and requires that fee revenue be used to enhance the visitor experience.
The FLREA authorized the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture to establish the America the Beautiful-the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program (Inter agency Pass Program), which covers entrance fees for certain lands and waters managed by NPS and FWS, and standard amenity recreation fees for certain lands and waters managed by BLM, BOR, and USFS. The Inter agency Pass Program was implemented in 2007 and now includes an annual pass for $80; an $80 lifetime pass and $20 annual pass for those age 62 years or older; a free lifetime pass for persons with permanent disabilities (Access Pass); and a free volunteer pass.
The Inter agency Pass Program also includes the Annual Military Pass, established in 2012, which provides a free annual pass for active duty military personnel and their dependents (including dependents of deceased service members for the period that the Armed Forces identifies them as dependents). Public Law 113-121, enacted in 2014, authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to participate in the Annual Military Pass, and the Interagency Pass Program as a whole.
In accordance with its commitment to honoring those who have sacrificed for our Nation, the Department is committed to extending free access to our most treasured natural resources to veterans of the United States Armed Forces and Gold Star Families.
Sec. 3 Authority. This Order is issued under the authority of section 805 ofFLREA, as amended.
Sec. 4 Policy. The Department is committed to ensuring that veterans of the United States Armed Forces and Gold Star Families have free access to national parks and other Federal lands managed by the Department. Our Nation is deeply indebted to those who have served our Nation as well as those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country, and the loved ones they have left behind. Extending free access to our most treasured natural resources is a meaningful way to honor these truly exemplary patriots, and is consistent with the President’s commitment to support our veterans and Gold Star family members as they supported our country selflessly.
Sec. 5. Implementation. The NPS, in consultation with BLM, BOR, and FWS, is responsible for ensuring veterans ofthe United States Armed Forces and Gold Star Families have free access to national parks and other Federal lands managed by the Department by no later than November 11, 2020.
a. For the purposes ofthis Order, the term “veterans ofthe United States Armed Forces” shall mean those individuals who have served in the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, and are able to present, at a minimum, one ofthe following forms of identification:
1. Department of Defense Identification Card;
2. Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC);
3. Veteran ID Card; or
4. Veteran’s designation on a State-issued driver’s license or identification card.
b. For purposes ofthis Order, the term “Gold Star Families” shall mean individuals who are eligible next of kin of a member ofthe United States Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a “qualifying situation,” such as a war, an international terrorist attack, or a military operation outside ofthe United States while serving with the United States Armed Forces, as identified in sections 3.2 and 3.3 of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36.
c. This Order shall only apply to the “Federal land management agencies” within the Department, 16 U.S.C. § 6801(4), and to “entrance fees” and “standard amenity recreation fees” collected by those agencies, as set forth in 16 U.S.C. §§ 6801(1) and 6801(3).
d. This Order shall not affect the collection of any other revenue, including the sale or collection of “recreation passes” defined in 16 U.S.C. § 6801(9), pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 6804, which may continue to be sold after the effective date of this Order.
e. The Secretary will consult with the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Army to allow veterans of the United States Armed Forces and Gold Star Families to have free access to Federal lands not managed by the Department, including the establishment of a “recreation pass,” defined in 16 U.S.C. § 6801(9), specifically for veterans ofthe United States Armed Forces and Gold Star Families pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 6804.
Sec. 6 Expiration Date. This Order is effective immediately and will remain in effect until its provisions are implemented or until it is amended, superseded, or revoked, whichever comes first. The termination of this Order will not nullify implementation of the requirements and responsibilities effected herein.