(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.