Herrera Beutler, colleagues introduce Veterans in Parks Act

Active-duty military service members, U.S. military veterans, and Gold Star Families would receive free access to national parks and public federal lands under a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA).

The congresswoman on July 1 signed on as one of 134 original cosponsors of the Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act, H.R. 4300, which is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) and fellow cosponsor U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ). The legislation seeks to direct the Secretary of the Interior to make free National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Passes available to members of the U.S. Armed Forces. 

“While we will never be able to fully repay our brave men and women for donning the uniform and serving our nation, one small token of appreciation is to ensure that they, and Gold Star Family members, are able to visit our national parks and public lands free of charge,” Rep. Herrera Beutler said. “The bill I’m helping introduce in Congress, the Veterans in Parks Act, will do just that so our military members and their families can freely visit our beautiful national parks that they so bravely fought to defend.”

In 2020, the America the Beautiful annual pass became free for veterans and Gold Star Families. However, the change for veterans has never been put into law and could be undone in the future, according to information from Rep. Herrera Beutler’s office. 

If enacted, H.R. 4300 would codify them and make them lifetime passes instead of annual passes and would create annual passes for current service members, which could be converted into lifetime passes once they leave the military, the information says.

The measure is being considered by congressional members in the U.S. House Agriculture Committee and the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.