Military Matters: Free Visits To National Parks, Monuments & More
The national parks, forests, historic sites and monuments are our American heritage.
From the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty, they are the symbols of our country - one that countless men and women have served and protected as members of the armed forces.
"They who are fighting for these places can now visit them free of charge," said Kimberly Szewczyk of Fort Stanwix in Rome, New York.
That's because active duty military members and their dependents can now get free "America the Beautiful" passes.
The annual pass, which can be purchased by the general public for $80, covers entrance and standard amenity fees at more than 2,000 sites managed by the National Park Service and other federal agencies under the U.S. Department of the Interior.
"It's a wonderful gesture and I hope they all take advantage of it," said Szewczyk.
You don't have to travel far to do that.
Fort Stanwix is only about 60 miles from Fort Drum.
The National Park Service's 16-acre historic monument is in the city of Rome.
"It's one of those parks with a small land print, but a huge story that goes on for centuries and it's a wonderful one to be able to tell everyone and discover this jewel right here in their own backyard," said Szewczyk.
Everyone can see Fort Stanwix for free.
There's no admission fee.
But military families who visit can pick up their free America the Beautiful passes while they're here.
List of sites issuing passes: http://store.usgs.gov/pass/PassIssuanceList.pdf
Information on the passes: http://store.usgs.gov/pass/military.html
Websites for the federal agencies issuing and honoring the passes and for more on the sites where they can be used:
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