Free Access Granted to Military Veterans and Gold Star Families

Gold star with red and blue stripes.Without those brave men and women that served our country and uniform, and without the support of their families, our nation would not be what it is today. To show our gratitude for their selfless service, the USDA Forest Service announced it will offer U.S. military veterans and Gold Star families fee-free access to their national forests and grasslands.

Beginning on Veterans Day, November 11, 2020, the Forest Service began offering a fee waiver granting veterans and Gold Star families free access to all Forest Service operated day-use standard amenity recreation fee sites such as trailheads, picnic sites, visitor centers and most other day-use recreation sites.

To access the benefit, veterans can present any of several government issued documents verifying veteran status:

  • Department of Defense Identification Card (CAC Card)
  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
  • Veteran ID Card
  • Veterans designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card

Note: Form DD-214 (“Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty”) is not accepted.

Gold Star families can download and print a voucher to show a ranger or place on the vehicle dashboard at unstaffed sites. Find out more and download the Gold Star voucher on this website (National Park Service website).