Mississippi Congressman Steven Palazzo cosponsored H.R. 4300, The Veterans in Parks (VIP) Act, to give active-duty service members, veterans, and Gold Star Families free lifetime access to America’s most iconic natural treasures through the America the Beautiful Pass.
The America the Beautiful Pass allows access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas including national parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges. Included are some of the most famous American gems like the Grand Canyon National Park and the Redwood National Forest.
“I feel very blessed to live in such a beautiful nation with unique and awe-inspiring mountain ranges, forests, valleys, plains, beaches, and deserts. Our ability to enjoy these protected lands is a privilege. The freedom to experience the grandeur of our homeland came at a high price. The brave men and women who fight for this beautiful country deserve to experience all it has to offer, free of charge,” said Palazzo.
Studies have shown that outdoor recreation is a powerful tool used to decrease the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and help veterans with reintegration into society. This legislation facilitates ample access to this means of rehabilitation to American veterans and active duty servicemembers.
The VIP Act passed through the House of Representatives and will be voted on in the Senate. Read more about the VIP Act here.
Palazzo is Co-Chair of the National Guard and Reserves Caucus, a member of the Mississippi National Guard, and a Marine veteran.