(Photo: OnTheOpenRoad via Flickr)

National parks waive entrance fees

America’s National Park Service is offering everyone free admission during the Veterans Day weekend in honor of those that serve and have served in the United States military.

From frontier forts to World War II battlefields, more than 70 national parks have direct connections to the military. These include our earliest national parks, where U.S. Army engineers designed park roads and buildings, and cavalry enforced regulations from 1886 until the National Park Service was established in 1916.

National parks throughout the country will hold special events to commemorate Veterans Day. Highlights include an exhibit and a discussion about the Roosevelt’s in the World Wars at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site; candlelight tours of Vicksburg National Cemetery; illumination of 6,000 graves in Poplar Grove National Cemetery at Petersburg National Battlefield; a Continental soldier encampment at Independence National Historical Park; and a talk on the African-American Civil War experience at Natchez National Historical Park.

Additional benefits for veterans on Veterans Day include a free Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area cruise and, in partnership with the Gettysburg Foundation, free entrance to the Gettysburg National Military Park museum.

The Veterans Day weekend is the last of the National Park Service entrance fee free days for 2012. More information is available at www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.

Dan Hottle, a member of American Legion Post 118 in Gardiner, Mont., and a Yellowstone Park ranger, talks about the important role that national parks played in his own recovery process in an 80-second vide. Click here to watch. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and fought in Afghanistan.



  1. It is encouraging for me to know that at least one fellow service member upon release from our U.S. military was able to procure a federal job with the U.S. Department of the Interior, and more specifically with the National Park Service. Kudos to former Marine Dan Hottle of American Legion Post 118 in Gardiner, Montana. I read with interest, enthusiasm, and support for Dan's appointment as a Park Ranger at Yellowstone National Park (located in Wyoming and Montana); in the "National parks wave entrance fees" column of the American Legion online update email I received. I too, am a former Marine (from 1960-1969), and former Park Ranger previously employed (in 1987) at Gateway, National Recreation Area, Jamaica Bay District (located at Floyd Bennett Field), National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior in Brooklyn, NY. The fee waver as the Legion indicated, is applicable "... during the Veterans Day weekend in honor of those that serve and have served in the United States military." Our veterans should take ample advantage of visiting our country's "national treasures" that inspire the soul, and are cause for the beholder to pause in somber, or deep reflection, and with an accompanying, welcomed sense, or feeling of solitude; contemplation, a sense of exhilaration, and the grandeur and awe of Nature's beauty; that imbibes a spiritual transcendence to the divine, and its (our national parks), for all to see in the natural world. There it is! "Wild Nature" and at its best, when serene and breath-taking. This article for park fee waver in our national parks I learned, was "Posted in Veterans Day", and dated "November 8, 2012." Congratulations Dan! "Gung Ho"! (Chinese), meaning "Work Together" (in the National Park Service).
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