Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) have introduced bipartisan legislation, the Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act. The legislation will provide free annual America the Beautiful Passes to current military service members and free lifetime America the Beautiful Passes to veterans and members of Gold Star Families.
“The new additions to the America the Beautiful Passes are a much-needed inclusion for our currently serving military members and the ability to ease access for veterans and Gold Star Families,” said Armed Forces Initiative coordinator Morgan Mason. “This falls directly in line with our priority of supporting legislation that affects the military and outdoor access.”
The debt to service members and veterans can never be fully repaid, but the VIP Act would allow them, along with Gold Star Families, access at no cost to over 2,000 federal recreation areas including national parks, national forests, and national wildlife refuges. Since 2020 the America the Beautiful annual pass has been free for veterans and Gold Star Families. The VIP Act would streamline the decision process and make them lifetime passes, while codifying free passes for current service members as well.
“Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is pleased to support the bipartisan Veterans in Parks Act,” said Tony Blando, Legislation Advisor for the Armed Forces Program. “We believe easing access to our public lands for those who are serving, or have served our nation in the armed forces, is a great way to honor them. We stand ready to assist Representatives Miller-Meeks and Gallego to see this bill across the finish line.”
Join BHA in encouraging your lawmakers to cosponsor the VIP Act and treat these service members, veterans, and Gold Star Families like VIPs on our public lands.