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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04)

November 20, 2020

Weekly Columns

I am pleased to inform you that starting this Veterans Day on Nov. 11, and lasting indefinitely, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has granted military veterans and Gold Star families free access to national parks and wildlife refuges, as well as lands and waters managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

We will never be able to repay servicemen and women for their sacrifice, but this program is a way to thank America’s veterans and Gold Star families for their sacrifice for our country and to encourage them to explore the recreational opportunities on our public lands and waters. Arkansas’ natural beauty is on full display at our national parks and national forests. Several of these are already free, such as the natural springs in Hot Springs National Park or the bluff-lined Buffalo National River. However, the parks that do charge entrance fees, such as the Fort Smith National Historic Site and Pea Ridge National Military Park, will be more accessible through this program. 

To receive free entrance to national parks and wildlife refuges, veterans will need to present their Department of Defense ID Card (CAC Card), Veteran Health ID Card (VHIC), Veteran ID Card, or their veteran designation on a driver’s license. And Gold Star family members will need to download and print the voucher located on the National Park Service (NPS) website. I encourage you to visit the NPS website at to learn more about this program.