USDA Forest Service grants veterans, Gold Star families free access to national forests, grasslands

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2020 – Without those brave men and women that served our country and uniform, and without the support of their families, our nation would not be what it is today. To show our gratitude for their selfless service, the USDA Forest Service today announced it will offer U.S. military veterans and Gold Star families fee-free access to their national forests and grasslands.

The free benefit will take effect on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 2020, and will continue indefinitely, providing veterans and Gold Star Families with unfettered access to the public land and waters for which they fought.

“This country is deeply indebted to the dedicated men and women who have served in the military, and to the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “We are pleased to offer this free access opportunity as a way to honor them and to encourage them to explore our Nation’s big backyard.”

While most national forest and grasslands are already free to access, the Forest Service will now offer a fee waiver granting veterans and Gold Star families free access to all Forest Service operated day-use standard amenity recreation fee sites such as trailheads, picnic sites, visitor centers and most other day-use recreation sites. To access the benefit, veterans can present any of several government issued documents verifying veteran status. Gold Star families can download and print a voucher to show a ranger or place on the vehicle dashboard at unstaffed sites.

For more information on the free access program for U.S. military veterans and Gold Star families please visit the Forest Service website.

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