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House Passes bill to thank and honor veterans — the VIP Act

Amata and veterans
Source: Congresswoman Uifaatali Amata's Office

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata welcomed House passage Thursday of the Alexander Lofgren Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act, H.R. 4300, which she cosponsored to thank and honor Veterans.

In national appreciation of their service and sacrifice, the legislation provides free lifetime access to all U.S. National Parks, and other National Forests and public lands for the nation’s servicemembers, veterans, and Gold Star families.

Under the Veterans in Parks Act, they will be honored as VIPs in over 2,000 federally protected places. Amata supported the bill from the start as an original cosponsor upon introduction by Representatives Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).

The public can purchase annual “America the Beautiful” passes that allow entry to all parks for one year. The VIP Act provides these annual America the Beautiful Passes for free to current military service members, and free lifetime America the Beautiful Passes to veterans and members of Gold Star Families.

 “This bill is a special way to tell our Veterans and military families how much we appreciate and honor them,” said Congresswoman Amata. “Our bill honors those serving, those who served, and Gold Star families who lost a loved one in service to the United States, and makes sure you are a VIP with special passes to the nation’s Parks and Forests.”

The America the Beautiful pass is an access ticket to over 2,000 places spanning National Parks, National Forests and Wildlife Refuges, which fall under different federal agencies and departments. The National Parks system has 423 sites including 63 Parks, along with trails, historical sites, monuments and memorials. These sites are preserved for national value based on scenery, special geographic features, history, or plant and wildlife conservation. Some Parks, such as the National Park of American Samoa, are generally free to access, but many locations have fees, or passes applied per car or for parking. The America the Beautiful pass covers those entry expenses.