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Rep. Golden, Sen. King introduce bill to make National Parks free for Gold Star Families

Families of fallen service members would receive free entry to Acadia, White Mountain National Forest, and other public lands across the country.
Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine

Congressman Jared Golden (D) and Senator Angus King (I) announced Thursday, March 5th, they are introducing bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate to provide Gold Star Families with free access to National Parks and other federally managed public lands. 

Gold Star Families are the immediate family members of service members who have died while serving.

Specifically, the legislation would make the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program free for Gold Star Families. The pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. 

Congressman Jared Golden:

“After a constituent came to us with the idea for this legislation, I went to work with Senator King to make it a reality. 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.”

Senator Angus King:

“America’s Gold Star Families have made unimaginable sacrifices for the safety of our country, and we should do everything possible to help them heal. Our national parks are among America’s greatest treasures, and any family who’s lost a loved one in defense of the United States should be able to access those treasures free of charge. This is not complicated – it’s simply the right thing to do.”

Maine-based veterans and public lands groups have announced their support for the legislation. The legislation also has the support of the American Legion and VoteVets.

Emmie Theberge, Federal Director, Natural Resources Council of Maine:

“America’s public lands are among our most treasured natural resources, inspiring awe and providing space for reflection. Giving Gold Star families access to benefit from the healing power of nature in our national parks and other public lands is a meaningful way to honor these families who have sacrificed for our country.”