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House OKs free national park access for Gold Star families

A proposal from Rep. Jared Golden and Sen. Angus King passed in the House that will give families of fallen service members free access to national parks.
Credit: Gabrielle Mannino/NCM
The proposal would make national parks like Acadia National Park free to Gold Star families.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a proposal from two Maine lawmakers to give families of fallen military service members free access to national parks.

Independent Sen. Angus King and Democratic Rep. Jared Golden introduced the Gold Star Families Park Pass Act, which passed Tuesday as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. 

The proposal would give immediate family of the service members access to the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program. Golden, a Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said the free access is “a small but meaningful way for our country to thank Gold Star Families.” 

“We passed this bill through the House in a bipartisan fashion and I’ll continue working to get it to the president’s desk," Golden said in a statement.

“America’s Gold Star Families have made unimaginable sacrifices for the safety of our country, and we should do everything possible to help them heal,” King said in a statement to NEWS CENTER Maine. “Our national parks are among America’s greatest treasures, and any family who’s lost a loved one in defense of the United States should be able to access those treasures free of charge. This is not complicated – it’s simply the right thing to do.”

Golden and King, as well as Maine Sen. Susan Collins, played roles in the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), which passed in the House on Wednesday and now heads to the President's desk. 

The GAOA will use royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling to provide nearly $2 billion a year to repair facilities and infrastructure in national parks and public lands and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. 

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