National Parks could soon be free for Gold Star families

Bryce Canyon National Park
Photo credit Getty Images

Gold Star families could receive free access to National Parks across the country if the Gold Star Families Parks Pass Act succeeds. 

The bill, introduced by Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, would make the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program free for the immediate family members of service members who have died in the line of military service. This would include entrance fees at national parks, national wildlife refuges, and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. 

“After a constituent came to us with the idea for this legislation, I went to work with Senator King to make it a reality,” said Congressman Golden. “Our bill is common sense: families of fallen servicemembers should have free access to our country’s most treasured places. It’s a simple gesture, but it can make a difference in the lives of Gold Star Families and that’s important. Senator King and I worked across the aisle with Senators Alexander and Daines and Congressman Wittman to introduce our bill in the House and Senate.”

Golden is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a Marine Corps veteran. Other Maine-based veteran groups have voiced support for the legislation. 

“Acadia and all our National Parks have always been wellsprings of inspiration and solace for the American people. We applaud this effort to increase access to the restorative powers of nature, and the touchstones of our shared cultural heritage for Gold Star Family Members who have endured the hardships and heartaches associated with the sacrifices made by their loved ones to defend this country," said David MacDonald, president of Friends of Acadia. 

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Agriculture. 

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