SHAHEEN, COLLINS INTRODUCE BILL TO EXPAND ACCESS TO NATIONAL PARKS FOR DISABLED VETERANS

Bipartisan Wounded Veterans Recreation Act would give lifetime National Parks pass to all disabled veterans

May 07, 2014

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) today introduced the Wounded Veterans Recreation Act to amend the decade-old Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) and make all veterans with a service-connected disability eligible for a free, lifetime pass allowing entry to National Parks and other recreational lands and waters held by the United States. Under the 2004 law, veterans need to be classified as having a 100 percent permanent disability by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in order to be eligible for a free National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.  Active military and their families also receive annual free passes.

“The military men and women who have fought and sacrificed to protect American land deserve the opportunity to enjoy it,” Shaheen said. “In New Hampshire we are home to some of the most beautiful and well-traveled recreation spaces, and each of our wounded warriors has earned the right to lifetime access to these national treasures.”

“It is fitting that those who have defended our freedoms should have free access to our nation’s parks and recreational lands,” said Senator Collins. “From Acadia and the Appalachians to  Yosemite and everywhere in between, our bill would allow Veterans to more easily engage in outdoor activities, which have been shown to help heal both the visible and invisible wounds of war.”

Shaheen and Collins have worked to support veterans throughout their careers and last year joined a bipartisan letter calling on the White House to address the VA disability claims backlog.