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Brooks cosponsors bill to give veterans free access to federal parks

The legislation would give active-duty service members, veterans and Gold Star Families free access to America’s most iconic natural treasures.


Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, announced Tuesday that he is an original cosponsor of Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meek’s, R-Iowa, and Congressman Ruben Gallego’s, R-Arizona, HR4300, the Veterans in Park Act. This bipartisan legislation will give active-duty service members, veterans and Gold Star Families free lifetime access to America’s most iconic natural treasures through the America the Beautiful Pass.

The America the Beautiful Pass provides access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, national forests and wildlife refuges. This would include some of the country’s most iconic treasures, like the Grand Canyon National Park and the Redwood National Forest.

“America is home to awe-inspiring national parks, majestic national forests, and federal wildlife refuges teeming with diverse species,” Brooks said. “Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Acadia are just a few of the thousands of natural wonders that make America one of the most scenic and amazing landscapes on Earth. America’s military families sacrifice so much defending our homeland. It is only right that these families have free access to the beautiful country they protect. In America, we’re proud of our military service members and we’re proud of our beautiful public lands.”

“Last year, the Trump Administration made the America the Beautiful yearly access pass free for veterans and Gold Star families,” Brooks said. “HR4300 would expand and permanently extend lifetime passes to active-duty service members, veterans, and Gold Star Families, granting them free access to public lands that won’t depend on the whims of future administrations. As such, I am proud to be an original cosponsor to HR4300!”

Miller-Meeks and Gallego are both veterans. They led a bipartisan group of 131 members, including Brooks, in introducing HR4300, the Veterans in Parks Act. This legislation would give veterans and Gold Star families free lifetime access to national parks and public federal lands and give active-duty military free annual passes.

“As a 24-year Army veteran, I understand the sacrifices made by our military and their loved ones,” said Miller-Meeks. “We owe so much to our amazing servicemembers, veterans, and their families; my Veterans In Parks Act is the least we can do. Our legislation would give servicemembers, veterans, and our Gold Star families free passes to all of our beautiful national parks and federal lands for life. I am proud to work with such a great bipartisan group of members on this commonsense issue to support those who sacrifice so much for our freedoms.”

“As a veteran, I know firsthand the importance of national parks as a place of connection and healing when dealing with the visible and invisible wounds of war,” said Gallego. “The VIP Act is an important step in ensuring that veterans, service members, and Gold Star families have access to the public lands they and their loved ones fought to protect. I am proud to co-lead this bill and I will continue to fight for veteran accessibility and support on our nation’s public lands.”

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“We can never fully repay our veterans for their service and sacrifice, but we want to show our gratitude by giving them lifetime access to America’s most beautiful natural landscapes,” said Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Arizona, “The VIP Act is also a testament to bipartisanship in action and proof that party lines don’t need to interfere with our ability to honor American heroes who sacrificed so much to keep us free. I thank Congresswoman Miller-Meeks for her leadership on this bill and look forward to working with Chairman Grijalva to move it quickly through our committee.”

“Veterans and active-duty service members find solace, refuge, and connection in our national parks and public lands,” said Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Arizona. “These treasured landscapes, monuments, and memorials are healing spaces and iconic symbols that unite our nation and represent the best of what it means to be American. Providing the military community with free access is appropriate and recognizing how public lands help our veterans heal is a good reminder that our parks and public lands deserve attention, investment, and care. I look forward to working with my colleagues to increase public lands access and interest in conserving our shared heritage for future generations.”

“As we celebrate our country’s freedom this weekend, it is important to remember the immense sacrifices that our veterans, active-duty servicemembers, and military families make every single day for the betterment of our nation,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California. “I applaud Rep. Miller-Meeks for her efforts to ensure that the law reflects our gratitude for our heroes and their families.”

Organizations supporting the legislation include: Paralyzed Veterans of America, Vista Outdoor, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Parks Hospitality Association, the National Association of Counties, Outdoor Industry Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Evangelical Environmental Network, Wildlife Mississippi, Mississippi River Trust, American Sportfishing Association, American Cultural Resources Association, VoteVets, The Mission Continues, American Battlefield Trust, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC), Delaware North, Trout Unlimited, National RV Dealers Association (RVDA), American Trails, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Boone and Crockett Club, Rugged Range, Bell Helmets, Blackburn, Blackhawk, Bushnell, CamelBak, Camp Chef, CCI, Eagle Industries, Federal Ammunition, Giro, HEVI-Shot, Primos, Remington, BPC Action, American Hiking Society, ConservAmerica, Southeast Tourism Society, The Corps Network, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, REI Co-op, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, Audubon, U.S. Travel Association, American Conservation Coalition, America Outdoors, Student Conservation Association, Association of Marina Industries, Archery Trade Association, International Inbound Travel Association, Wildlife Management Institute.

Brooks is serving in his sixth term representing Alabama’s 5th Congressional District following previous service on the Madison County Commission, in the Alabama House of Representatives and as a prosecutor. Brooks is a 2022 candidate for U.S. Senate.

Written By

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.


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