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NPS Entrance Fees Waived on November 11th for Veterans, Military Personnel and Their Families

Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. NPS photo.

In honor of Veterans Day, U.S. military veterans, members of the U.S. armed forces and their families will be admitted without charge on November 11th to public recreation lands managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Forest Service.

This annual Veterans Day fee waiver began in 2006, and applies to entrance fees at sites administered by those agencies. Other fees, such as those for camping or additional services, will still apply.

The purpose of this observance is not to glorify conflict but simply to honor those who served when asked to do so by their nation. National Park Service sites which commemorate and honor the service of American veterans span the nation's history, and are located all across the country. The National Park Service has developed a web page to help plan visits to NPS sites that preserve the military and veteran heritage of our nation.

Special Veterans Day activities will be held on November 11th at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. The event will begin at 1 p.m. with speeches, speakers, a color guard and a wreath-laying ceremony. Jan C. Scruggs, Founder and President of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, will serve as master of ceremonies.

"I invite everyone to visit our many national parks that preserve and commemorate the sacrifices and achievements of the men and women who have fought in America's wars," said Mary A. Bomar, Director of the National Park Service. "As we approach Veteran's Day, what better way to learn about the hallowed places preserved in the National Park System and to honor the sacrifices of our veterans, than by visiting a national park."


I think this is great, it should be expanded to either year-round or at least the month of November. We do so little honor our military and veteran's who deserve so much.

As a vet, I am not very impressed that entrance fees are waived for one day. Since all other fees still apply, the entrance fees should be waived for any ID carrying vet period.
Do NPS, USFW, BLM, USFS employees always have to pay full costs for their rec time spent on these lands?
I think it is also pitiful that one actually has to mention " The purpose of this observance is not to glorify conflict.."
Asinine. What morons would have thought that?

It's always hard to argue down proposals for expanding veterans benefits, and the one you suggest is especially difficult to oppose on ethical grounds. Who could be more deserving than a military veteran when it comes to freely accessing America's public lands? So, put me in the "yes" column. (I would also cheerfully add actively serving military personnel to the list of the deserving.) But what about policemen, firemen, and others who serve and protect? And wouldn't there be a whole bunch of other constituencies with plausible "me too!" arguments? In brief, where do you stop with the freebies? BTW, I agree that it's asinine to instruct people that they shouldn't confuse honoring vets with glorifying conflict. Who on earth would draw a conclusion like that, anyway?

Truth-in-endorsing disclosure: I'm strongly biased toward veterans benefits. Among other things, they helped me fund my college education and buy my first house.

"In brief, where do you stop with the freebies?"

Since these parks are already taxpayer funded isn't an additional entrance fee just a form of double taxation? Why should anyone have to pay a fee?

$25 a pop to get into Bryce Canyon is a hard pill to swallow, especially for local residents who DO NOT make the kind of money that allows them to afford such luxuries. The parks are now, by and large, the province of the more well off among society and the steady rise in entrance fees we have witnessed in the past few years will only further continue that trend.

While we are exempting Americans who have served their country from NPS entrance fees, what about returned Peace Corps Volunteers?

Rick Smith

Wow, some interesting comments on a post that was primarily intended just to let people know about the upcoming opportunity for vets. I hadn't expected to reopen the wide-ranging debate about fees ... but that's ok :-)

I would like to answer one comment from the above:

Do NPS, USFW, BLM, USFS employees always have to pay full costs for their rec time spent on these lands?

Based on my personal experience, I'd say "normally yes." I worked for the NPS for 30 years and can honestly say that I never asked for nor received a free ride at any other federal area I was visiting. (Since I lived inside the boundary of places like Grand Canyon, I didn't pay the entrance fee to come and go from home at a park where I was a resident.) That's not to paint me as a saint - I just didn't want to put that entry-level employee at the entrance station in an awkward position. At one point in my career, there were actually some people conducting audits of fee operations by trying to talk their way into parks because they were government employees, or under some similar guise, and if they were successful, the fee collector and the supervisor were formally admonished or subject to disciplinary action. Do some employees flash an ID at the entrance at parks and get in free? Almost certainly so. Similar supposed "perks" occur in almost any private or government enterprise, but I really don't think it's widespread.

The rank and file of the NPS do not have any kind of pass or card to gain free entry into other park areas. Some WASO mucky-mucks have them but are presumably for "official" use only.

Why veterans? How about nurses? Fire fighters? All law enforcement personal? Paramedics? Social workers?

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