National Park Service Honors Active Military With Free Park Passes

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, the National Parks Service has extended a free invitation to active members of the United States military to visit the parks that they help to protect. The Allegheny Front's Megan Zagorski has more.

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OPEN: Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, the National Parks Service has extended a free invitation to active members of the United States military to visit the parks that they help to protect. The Allegheny Front's Megan Zagorski has more.

ZAGORSKI: More than two million men and women currently serve in the military. The National Parks Service wants to show its appreciation to these troops with free annual passes to federal parks .

Kathy Kupper is a spokesperson for the agency. She says that the countryís national parks and armed forces go way back.

KUPPER: "The Parks Service and the military have strong ties. Many people don't know about them, but the first park rangers were actually members of the United States cavalry. They protected the parks for 44 years before the Parks Service was established."

ZAGORSKI: The agency hopes that servicemen and women will take advantage of this opportunity to reconnect with their families and nature.

The free annual pass lets military personnel visit more than three hundred national parks, as well as hundreds of other federal locations.

These include sites in Pennsylvania like the Allegheny National Forest, the Erie National Wildlife Refuge and Fort Necessity National Battlefield.

For the Allegheny Front, I'm Megan Zagorski.