Free ad­mis­sion to na­tional parks for Vet­er­ans Day

The Mercury News Weekend - - LOCAL NEWS - HONORINGMILITARY By Paul Rogers progers@ba­yare­anews­

All of Cal­i­for­nia’s na­tional parks — from Yosemite to Pin­na­cles to Muir Woods — will waive en­try fees on Satur­day and Sun­day to ev­ery mem­ber of the pub­lic to honor Amer­ica’s vet­er­ans and the Vet­er­ans Day hol­i­day.

The Na­tional Park Ser­vice has pro­vided free ad­mis­sion for all vis­i­tors to ev­ery na­tional park on Vet­er­ans Day since 2006.

“More than 100 na­tional parks have di­rect con­nec­tions to Amer­i­can mil­i­tary his­tory, in­clud­ing fron­tier forts and Cold War sites, bat­tle­fields and na­tional ceme­ter­ies, memo­ri­als and pa­tri­otic shrines,” said Michael Reynolds, act­ing direc­tor of the Na­tional Park Ser­vice. “These spe­cial places pay trib­ute to our vet­er­ans and serve as re­minders of their self­less ser­vice and sac­ri­fice through­out the his­tory of our na­tion.”

Mean­while, most of Cal­i­for­nia’s state parks— from Big Basin Red­woods in the Santa Cruz Moun­tains to Mount Di­ablo in Con­tra Costa County — also will be free, but just on Satur­day, and only to vet­er­ans who show ID at the gate.

Vet­er­ans, ac­tive duty and re­serve mil­i­tary per­son­nel and mil­i­tary re­tirees can show a cur­rent mil­i­tary ID, dis­charge papers or their Uni­form Ser­vices ID card to re­ceive free ad­mis­sion to state parks on Satur­day.

Over­all, 143 state parks will be free for vet­er­ans on Satur­day. Those in­clude 134 of the state’s most pop­u­lar parks which charge ve­hi­cle en­try fees and ac­cept the “Cal­i­for­nia Explorer” an­nual ve­hi­cle pass, along with eight re­cre­ation ar­eas for off- road ve­hi­cle, like Hol­lis­ter Hills in San Ben­ito County and the State Rail­road­Mu­se­u­min Sacra­mento.

“Cal­i­for­nia State Parks is proud to offer free ad­mis­sion on Vet­er­ans Day to all ac­tive mil­i­tary per­son­nel and vet­er­ans as grat­i­tude for their ser­vice,” said Cal­i­for­nia State Park’s Direc­tor Lisa Man­gat. “We wel­come vet­er­ans to the amaz­ing nat­u­ral and cul­tural re­sources of our state’s parks.”

On the fed­eral level, all 27 na­tional park units in Cal­i­for­nia and roughly 400 nationwide will be free ev­ery­one on Satur­day and Sun­day. Those in­clude na­tional parks like Yosemite or Se­quoia-Kings Canyon, na­tional his­toric sites like Fort Point in San Fran­cisco or the John Muir home in Martinez, and na­tional seashores, like Point Reyes in Marin County.

Vet­er­ans Day is ob­served ev­ery Nov. 11. It be­gan to com­mem­o­rate the end of World War I, when a truce, or armistice, was de­clared be­tween Al­lied na­tions and Ger­many in France at 11 a.m. of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Congress made it an of­fi­cial fed­eral hol­i­day in 1938. For years, Amer­i­cans cel­e­brated it as “Armistice Day,” but in 1954 af­ter the Korean War, its name was changed to “Vet­er­ans Day.”

The Na­tional Park Ser­vice also pro­vides ac­tive duty mil­i­tary mem­bers and their de­pen­dents with a free an­nual na­tional park pass, an $80 value. Per­ma­nently dis­abled vet­er­ans also can re­ceive a free life­time Ac­cess Pass to all na­tional parks, forests and wildlife refuges.

Cal­i­for­nia’s state parks sys­tem also is­sues a free life­time pass called a “Dis­tin­guished Vet­eran Pass” for vet­er­ans who were dis­abled in com­bat, served as pris­on­ers of war, or were awarded the Medal of Honor.

For more in­for­ma­tion, go to www.parks. ca. gov/? page_ id=1049 or www. nps. gov/ plany­ourvisit/passes.htm


The Na­tional Park Ser­vice is pro­vid­ing free ad­mis­sion for all vis­i­tors to ev­ery na­tional park this week­end in honor of Vet­er­ans Day.

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