By Debbie Gregory.
Summertime is rapidly approaching. To celebrate the end of the school year and take advantage of the great weather and the opportunity to spend quality time together, thousands of American families will head out on vacation. Military families are no exception, as many of them save their leave time to head out on excursions and road trips over the summer to see the nation they make sacrifices for.
There are national parks, historical sites, monuments, oddities, and attractions scattered across the country. Some of them do not charge admission or fees. And while others do, there are discounts and free passes for military families.
One such offering is the America the Beautiful Annual Pass, which is an inter-agency program that offers entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites in all fifty states. While anyone can purchase the America the Beautiful Pass for an annual fee of $80, the federal government offers a Free Annual Pass for Military.
Any current Active or Reserve member of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, or National Guard with a military ID is eligible for the Military Pass. The pass can be used at any Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation sites that charge entrance fees. The pass will admit the owner and any accompanying passengers in a private, non-commercial vehicle at sites that charge per vehicle, or up to three additional adults at sites that charge per person (Children under 16 are usually free). The membership card does not cover other fees, such as camping, trailer hookup, boat launch, etc.
Anyone can apply for their America the Beautiful Pass at any issuance site, or by calling 1-888- ASK-USGS (275-8747) Ext. 3; or by applying online. Passes ordered over the phone or online can take up to two weeks for delivery. Applications turned in at the issuance sites can be completed that same visit.
While service members and dependents of deployed service members can get their America the Beautiful Annual Pass at no charge, U.S. residents 62 or older can buy lifetime passes for $10. All other America the Beautiful passes are $80 for one year from date of purchase.
This summer, as military families venture out to see our great nation, they can do so at minimal costs to them, with no entrance fees, thanks to the America the Beautiful Free Annual Pass for Military.
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Military Connection: Special Savings for Military Families: By Debbie Gregory