SHAHEEN, COLLINS REINTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO EXPAND ACCESS TO NATIONAL PARKS FOR DISABLED VETERANS

Bipartisan bill would give all disabled veterans lifetime National Parks pass for hunting, fishing and recreation

January 08, 2015

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R- ME) today reintroduced legislation that would make all veterans with a service-connected disability eligible for a free, lifetime pass granting entry to National Parks and other recreational lands and waters held by the United States. Currently, such a pass is available only to veterans with a 100 percent disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Shaheen-Collins bill would expand eligibility for the free, lifetime National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass to include all veterans with a service-connected disability, allowing them to enjoy hunting, fishing and other recreation on federal public lands.

“Veterans who have fought and sacrificed to protect American land deserve the opportunity to enjoy it,” Shaheen said. “In New Hampshire we are lucky to have some of the most beautiful recreational space in the country. Men and women with a service-connected disability have earned 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 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.”

The bill reintroduced today would specifically amend the 2004 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act which specifies that 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.