And it couldn't come at a better time.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact lives and businesses across the country, the Great Outdoors remains a safe refuge for many of us, as well as a place where we can relax and recharge.
As of November 11, 2020 (Veterans Day), all United States veterans and Gold Star Families—those who have lost a loved one in the line of duty—will have free, lifetime access to national parks, wildlife refuges, and other federal lands managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Previously, this benefit was only provided to active duty military members and their dependents.
“Our veterans and Gold Star Families have made incredible sacrifices to defend our freedoms and our homeland," said Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in a recent press release. "Ensuring that they are able to enjoy all of the natural wonders of the country that they’ve served is one small way of saying thank you."
For members of the general public interested in visiting these same areas, the America the Beautiful - National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass can be purchased for $80.
Where can veterans use their lifetime pass?
According to the USGS FAQ page, the National Park Service, along with the Forest Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers honor the annual pass at sites where Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee(s) (day-use fees) are charged.
- Bureau of Land Management http://www.blm.gov
- Bureau of Reclamation http://www.usbr.gov
- Fish and Wildlife Service http://www.fws.gov
- USDA Forest Service http://www.fs.fed.us
- National Park Service http://www.nps.gov
- US Army Corps of Engineers http://www.usace.army.mil
With regard to the National Park Service, that means free access to all 62 National Parks including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Arches, Zion, and Yosemite, along with hundreds of other sites within the National Park System such as National Monuments, National Recreation Areas, and National Seashores.
To qualify for your free, lifetime access pass, you may need a copy of your DD214.
As with the majority of veteran benefits, veterans will need to provide proof of service to show that they are eligible to receive their free access pass. According to the VA, this includes one of the following forms of identification:
- Department of Defense Identification Card
- Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
- Veteran ID Card
- Veterans designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card
If you don't have one of these four forms of ID, you will need a copy of your DD214 to get one. The DD Form 214, also called the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, should have been issued upon your discharge from the U.S. Military. However, if your original DD214 has been lost or damaged, you can order a copy today from DD214Direct.com.
Veteran-owned DD214Direct helps you get the documents you need, when you need them.
Our cutting-edge technology platform and keen knowledge of government protocol and procedure allow us to deliver your documents faster than you could get them on your own. First, we digitize both your request and the returned documents, using electronic signatures to avoid extra time with the postal service. We also integrate email and fax throughout our entire process, while many agencies do not.
To further expedite the process, our team ensures your initial request is filled out properly the first time and includes the necessary supporting documentation so that it doesn't bounce back. In addition, we break up multiple requests (DD214, OMPF, etc.) so that each piece is handled separately and one does not delay the other.
Once your request is processed, DD214Direct becomes your personal advocate, working directly with the agency that holds your records (currently there are about 75 independent agencies) and immediately responding to any agency issues on your behalf. In many cases, DD214Direct is able to advance your request to a higher-priority workflow. Finally, we have team members at many locations to drop off and pick up documents.
Much like paying a small fee to have your taxes done by a professional, DD214Direct provides the service and convenience you’ve been hoping for, plus we make it a lot easier. Once we locate your DD214, we can email you a copy immediately—a service not offered by the government. And tracking your request through us is simple, so you never have to worry about long hold times and inconclusive answers.
Ready to get started? Click here to begin the order process.