Bill Summary

The Veterans in Parks Act, or VIP Act, is a bipartisan bill led by U.S. Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), that recognizes our active-duty service members, veterans, and Gold Star families should be treated like VIPs in America’s national parks and on our public lands.

Resources

VIP Act One Pager
VIP Act Bill Text

Media

Release: "Overwhelmingly Bipartisan Bill Honors American Heroes"
Twitter: Organizations Supporting the VIP Act
Release: "What They Are Saying: The VIP Act"

Statements of Support

"America's heroes deserve to enjoy America's best idea. Providing free access to National Parks, National Forests, and Wildlife Refuges to service members and their families is the least we can do to thank them. The American Conservation Coalition is grateful for Representative Miller Meeks' leadership on this important initiative." - Quill Robinson, vice president of government affairs, American Conservation Coalition

"By answering the call to service, our active duty military and veterans have proven a willingness to sacrifice on behalf of this nation, demonstrating their commitment to its highest ideals. Ensuring them unfettered access to America's most meaningful landscapes, places of enduring significance to the fabric of our nation, is a fitting gesture of gratitude. The American Battlefield Trust, a stalwart supporter of both the National Park Service and our modern military, unreservedly supports the Veterans in Parks Act, and stands ready to help welcome modern warriors as they walk in the footsteps of their forbearers at the nation's battlefield parks." - David Duncan, president, American Battlefield Trust

"Our nation’s parks and public lands, and the cultural resources they contain, are integral in telling the story of America. Active-duty servicemembers, veterans and Gold Star Families have given so much to our country, and so it only makes sense to provide them with free access to America’s historic and scenic treasures. The American Cultural Resources Association commends Representatives Miller-Meeks and Gallego for introducing this bill, and we urge Congress to pass it as soon as possible." - American Cultural Resources Association

"American Hiking Society applauds the introduction of the bipartisan Veterans in Parks Act (VIP Act) to ensure that military families and veterans have access to the health and recreation benefits of the outdoors. Current military service members, veterans and Gold Star families have given so much and deserve to have lifetime pass access to the public lands and hiking trails to improve their physical and mental wellbeing." - Kate Van Waes, executive director, American Hiking Society

"Outdoor recreation is one of the many aspects of America’s heritage that our veterans and military service members have fought to protect. The sportfishing industry is proud to support the Veterans in Parks Act, which will ensure veterans and military service members have free access to federal recreation areas so they can enjoy the many outdoor opportunities, including fishing, that our nation’s public lands offer." - Mike Leonard, vice president of government affairs, American Sportfishing Association

"American Trails is excited to support the Veterans in Parks Act. For many years, our country's active and veteran service members have relied on outdoor recreation, and more specifically trails, to build healthy, active lifestyles, ensure mental health and stability, and connect with other like-minded individuals. Whether on foot, wheel, or water, this Act will go a long way toward helping veterans and their families to enjoy the many benefits of trails on our nation's public lands." - Mike Passo, executive director, American Trails

"Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is pleased to support the bipartisan Veterans in Parks Act. We believe easing access to our public lands for those who are serving, or have served our nation in the armed forces, is a great way to honor them.  We stand ready to assist Representatives Miller-Meeks and Gallego to see this bill across the finish line." - Tony Blando, legislation advisor, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

"The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) applauds Reps. Miller-Meeks and Gallego for introducing the Veteran’s in Parks Act. As veterans themselves, Reps. Miller-Meeks and Gallego know first-hand the important role the outdoors—including hunting and fishing—plays in the lives of many veterans, and we are excited to see the VIP Act introduced to reduce barriers to entry for our nation’s servicemen and women." - Jeff Crane, president and CEO, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation

"Our service members and veterans took oaths to protect our land against enemies, so it only makes sense that they have the opportunity to enjoy the national parks and lands they vowed to defend free of charge. I’m pleased this legislation also includes Gold Star Families, which have given so much to this nation. Providing lifetime passes so they can always access our parks and public lands is just the right thing to do and ConservAmerica is pleased to voice its support." - Todd Johnston, vice president of policy, ConservAmerica

"As a longtime hospitality partner of the National Park Service as well as an employer and supporter of military veterans, Delaware North strongly endorses the Veterans in Parks Act and is ready to assist in this effort. Providing active military service members, veterans and Gold Star Families with free lifetime access to national parks is a wonderful way to give back to those who have served and sacrificed for our country, ensuring they can share in the incredible experiences the parks have to offer." - Scott Socha, group president for the parks and resorts division, Delaware North

"A special blessing and thank you to Representatives Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) for the Support the Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act! The VIP Act offers a small thank you to military service members, veterans, and Gold Star Families for their patriotism and service to our Nation, but it goes beyond saying thanks, it offers an opportunity for healing. Medical research clearly proves the ability to find healing in our greatest outdoor treasurers, America’s national parks. God’s marvelous creation provides perhaps the greatest healing place for many of our heroes and their families who suffer deep internal wounds. The VIP Act offers our heroes hope for healing, wholeness, restoration and simply great fun!" - Mitch Hescox, president and CEO, Evangelical Environmental Network

"Not only is it important that we defend this great country, but allow those service members who have risked the greatest cost to enjoy our public lands – those lands that help make our nation worth defending – at no cost. We are all so grateful to Representatives Miller-Meeks and Gallego for their leadership on such an important issue." - James L. Cummins, president, Mississippi River Trust

"Our active-duty military, veterans and Gold Star families have given so much for our freedoms, we are proud to support this legislation that would give them the opportunity to enjoy the peace and tranquility of this nation’s national parks and public lands. Many of our privately-owned RV parks and campgrounds are in close proximity to these public lands, and many of them are owned by veterans and Gold Star families. In addition, they see the economic benefits tourism provides to our national parks, public lands and surrounding communities and would welcome the many deserving individuals and families who would take advantage of this wonderful benefit." - Paul Bambei, president and CEO, National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds

"We owe our brave service members and their loved ones a debt of gratitude and providing them access to our public lands and waters free of charge is a great way to thank and honor their service and sacrifice. On behalf of the recreational boating community, we applaud Representatives Miller-Meeks and Gallego for championing this noble initiative and call on all members of Congress to support this measure and our armed forces, who ensure every American can enjoy our cherished national pastimes." - Callie Hoyt, director of federal government relations, National Marine Manufacturers Association

"Our national parks and other Great Outdoors places are shared legacies of all Americans. They are sources of inspiration as we see natural beauty and hear stories of our development as a nation. It is appropriate that those who have served our nation receive an expression of our collective thanks through this tangible invitation to visit these special places without entrance fees." - National Park Hospitality Association

"America’s veterans not only fought to protect our communities, but also our public lands and access to these lands. In turn, many veterans enjoy outdoor recreation with loved ones and find a sense of peace, healing and wholeness while on our public lands. I am grateful that the VIP Act recognizes this reality and seeks to honor the enduring sacrifice veterans and their families have made for our country." Andrew Black, public lands field director, National Wildlife Federation

"The outdoors can be a place of refuge and healing, providing countless mental and physical health benefits for everyone. This important proposal would ensure active-duty service members, veterans, and their families can enjoy and experience the benefits of our country’s beautiful national parks and public lands free of charge. We are pleased to see this commitment to improving access to the outdoors and providing veterans with the resources and opportunities they deserve." - Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director, Outdoor Industry Association

"Our National Parks are some of America's greatest treasures and their availability is due in part to the efforts of the men and women who have served our country in uniform. We applaud the introduction of Representative Miller-Meeks' Lifetime Veterans Pass bill because granting servicemembers and veterans lifetime access to these venues is an appropriate way to recognize their service." - Heather Ansley, associate executive director of government relations, Paralyzed Veterans of America

"Science and research continue to prove that time in nature can and does have a positive impact mental and physical health. That’s why REI Co-op is proud to support the Veterans in Parks Act, which will allow those who currently and have served our country to more easily access the outdoors. We applaud the bipartisan introduction of this bill to make it as easy as possible for veterans, active military and their families to reap all the benefits the great outdoors has to offer."  – Marc Berejka, director of community and government affairs, REI

"America’s public lands and waters provide unique opportunities for healing and respite for many veterans upon returning home from service. Veterans, active duty service members, and Gold Star Families shouldn’t be denied access to the benefits of nature because of a lack of funds. The Veterans in Parks Act will ensure that those who have served and sacrificed for our country can enjoy a direct connection to the landscapes and waters they defended." Rob Vessels, campaign manager, Sierra Club Military Outdoors

"There is no better way to recognize the selfless service of our active-duty military and veterans than providing free America the Beautiful passes. Tourism community leaders across the Southeast enthusiastically support the Veterans in the Park (VIP) Act as an expression of gratitude for service members, veterans and Gold Star Family members. Encouraging more of them to explore the exceptional experiences of visiting America’s public lands, historic sites, and recreational areas is an important part of ongoing tourism efforts." - Monica Smith, president and CEO, Southeast Tourism Society

"America's national parks include some of our country's most beautiful lands for rest and recreation. The Veterans in Parks Act, or VIP Act, would honor our service members, veterans, and families by providing free access to our national parks and public lands. This bill would codify the existing benefits of the America the Beautiful Pass, ensuring that those who served will always have free access to more than 2,000 of our nation's parks and federal recreation areas." - Kristina Keenan, national legislative service associate director, Veterans of Foreign Wars

"Vista Outdoor and our family of brands are proud to support the bipartisan Veterans in Parks Act. Public lands are a vast, untapped resource for healing, comradery and adventure. Inviting more veterans and their families to experience these many benefits is not only good policy, but it's the right thing to do. Our veterans and their families have served with honor, putting their lives on hold while willingly entering harm's way. Providing access to our public lands is an important tool in the transition to civilian life while also showing our collective thanks and appreciation for their service. Representative Miller-Meeks and Representative Gallego should be commended for their dedication to our public lands, veterans and bipartisanship." -  Kelly Reisdorf, chief communications officer, Vista Outdoor

“America owes a debt to veterans that may never be fully repaid but the Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act is a great start. Allowing veterans free access to public lands they defended in service to their nation is a thoughtful gesture of appreciation from a grateful nation. The American Legion is proud to support Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act, which would allow veterans to visit our National Parks and public lands free of charge.”- American Legion

 


 

 


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