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U.S. military to receive free wildlife refuge passes Saturday


To show appreciation for those who serve in the U.S. Military, on Saturday, May 19 – Armed Forces Day – the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will begin issuing an annual pass offering free entrance for active duty military members and their dependents to
Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge and every unit of the Refuge System, as well as National Parks and other public lands.

“Through the years, military members, especially those far from home in times of conflict, have found inspiration and rejuvenation in America’s wild landscapes. Their dedication enables all Americans to enjoy these special places in safety and security,” said Dan Ashe, Fish and Wildlife Service Director.

“This new pass gives us a way to thank members of the Armed Forces and their families for their service and their sacrifices.”

Active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents can pick up their pass at the refuge Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. They must show a current, valid military identification card to obtain their pass. More information is available at http://store.usgs.gov/pass/index.html.

Thirty-five units of the National Wildlife Refuge System charge entrance fees. This military version of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass permits free entrance to all of them, as well as to sites managed by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Forest Service that charge entrance fees. The pass is also available through these federal agencies.   

The Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System and the military have strong ties. More than 200,000 acres of the Refuge System are former military lands, and nearly 50 of the 556 units in the Refuge System include lands transferred from the military to the Service.

Following World War I and all subsequent conflicts in our nation’s history, returning veterans took advantage of hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreational opportunities on refuge lands – and thousands continue to enjoy these activities.

Today, the Service employs some 1,400 veterans in full-time and temporary positions, equal to nearly 20 percent of the agency’s workforce.

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