At Tester’s urging, service members allowed free access to National Park Service sites

Senator joins Secretary Salazar to announce no-cost admission for military

(U.S. SENATE) – At the urging of Senator Jon Tester, the nation's military members are now eligible for free admission to Yellowstone, Glacier and thousands of other National Park Service sites and public lands across the country.

The Interior Department is expanding its America the Beautiful pass to offer free admission for members of every branch of the military and their families. Valid for one year, the pass is also available for seniors and those with permanent disabilities. 

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of Tester’s introduction of the National Parks Freedom Pass Act. Tester’s Freedom Pass would make it easier for service members to access the National Park System. On a conference call with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Tester said expanding access to park sites honors the nation’s military members and helps areas around National Park Service sites.

“Giving free access to our military men and women and their families is a way to say thank you for their service and sacrifices,” Tester said. “Now the hardworking folks of our military will be able to enjoy places like Glacier and Yellowstone without having to pay.”

Salazar thanked Tester for pushing to expand the America the Beautiful pass, saying it recognizes the contributions of the military.

“Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to our service men and women who make great sacrifices and put their lives on the lines to protect our country and preserve our freedom,” Salazar said. “In recognition of their contributions and service, we are putting out a welcome mat for these brave men and women and their families at America’s most beautiful and storied sites.”

The America the Beautiful pass will be available to military members starting on Armed Forces Day on May 19. Members and their dependents can pick up a pass at any national park, wildlife refuge, or national forest that charges an entrance fee. Members must show a current, valid military identification card to obtain their pass, which covers the pass owner and any accompanying passengers in their vehicle. 

The pass can be used at 55 locations across Montana. A full list of participating sites is available HERE.

Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, also said that he will also keep pushing to reduce the cost of National Parks for veterans. His National Parks Freedom Pass Act would allow veterans and those honorably discharged lifetime park access for a one-time $10 fee.

Tester’s bill is available online HERE. For more information about the America the Beautiful pass, click HERE.