Congressman Jerry Carl, R-Alabama, released a statement to announce that bipartisan legislation to give veterans and Gold Star families lifetime free access to national parks has passed the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Our servicemembers and Gold Star Families have paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country safe and secure, so it’s critical we do everything we can to support them and show them our gratitude,” Carl said. “I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation to provide free annual America the Beautiful passes to current military servicemembers, veterans, and Gold Star Families so they can gain free access to all our national parks and public lands.”
The Alexander Lofgren Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act, which is a bipartisan bill led by U.S. Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, and Ruben Gallego, D-Arizona, recognizes that our active-duty servicemembers, veterans, and Gold Star Families should be treated like VIPs in national parks and on our public lands. The VIP Act passed the House by a vote of 420 to 0. The America the Beautiful Pass provides access to over 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, national forests and wildlife refuges.
“I am thrilled to see my bipartisan Alexander Lofgren VIP Act overwhelmingly pass the House today,” said Miller-Meeks. “We often say that we support the physical and mental health of our veterans, and it is great to see legislation pass that will do great things for the health of our heroes,” said Miller-Meeks. “Giving our veterans and Gold Star families free lifetime access to our incredible national parks will do wonders. I was proud to partner with a fellow veteran, Congressman Gallego, on this legislation and look forward to working to see this bill reach the President’s desk.”
The America the Beautiful Pass provides access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges. This includes some of the country’s most iconic natural treasures, ranging from Acadia National Park to the Redwood National Forest.
In 2020, the America the Beautiful annual pass became free for veterans and Gold Star Families. This Trump administration change for veterans has never been put into law and could be undone in future years.
The Alexander Lofgren Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act protects these passes by codifying them and making them lifetime passes instead of annual passes. Finally, the VIP Act also creates annual passes for current servicemembers, which can be converted into lifetime passes once they leave the military.
Congressman Jerry Carl is in his first term representing Alabama’s 1st Congressional District.