I am writing today as a veteran who deeply enjoys the outdoors and Americaís public lands. This week, President Barack Obama, through the Joining Forces initiative ó a program spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden to support military families ówill be giving free annual passes for all of our national parks and public lands to all active-duty military and their families. The pass will waive most fees for entry to our national parks and public lands, including those managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps. This totals more than 2,000 sites, which our troops and their families will now be able to visit free of charge.
It might seem just like a nice gesture to offer the free pass, but it really is more. Itís an understanding of the importance of public lands to those who served.
Public lands hold a special bond with the veteranís community. These are lands that we frequent with family and friends to hunt, hike, fish and camp. These are lands that also help us heal from grueling deployments and memories of war.
I want to thank the president, the first lady and Mrs. Biden for their commitment to our military families and our nationís parks and public lands. I ask my community to stand with me and do the same.