Collins, Shaheen Introduce Bill to Expand Access to National Parks for Disabled Veterans

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Wounded Veterans Recreation Act to amend the 2004 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) and make all veterans with a service-connected disability eligible for a free, lifetime pass allowing entry to National Parks and other recreational lands and waters held by the United States. Under the 2004 law, individuals must be permanently disabled in order to be eligible for a free National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, creating uncertainty on whether all wounded veterans have access to this program. The Wounded Veterans Recreation Act would clarify the current statute to ensure that these heroes have access to America’s outdoor recreational lands.

“Those who have fought and sacrificed to defend our freedoms should have free access to our nation’s parks and recreational lands,” said Senator Collins. “From Acadia to Denali, and everywhere in between, our bill would allow disabled veterans to access more easily our country’s national treasures for outdoor recreation, which can help heal both the visible and invisible wounds of war.”

“This bill would ensure that the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country are able to enjoy many of America’s most spectacular sights free of charge,” Senator Shaheen said. “New Hampshire is home to some of the most beautiful recreation spaces, and the least we can do for our wounded warriors is provide access without cost.”

Senators Collins and Shaheen  have worked to support veterans throughout their time in the Senate. They first introduced the Wounded Veterans Recreation Act in the 113th Congress.