Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks will join 399 other National Park Service properties in offering free admission Nov. 9-11 in recognition of Veteran’s Day weekend.
Though the holiday weekend is typically among several notable days throughout each year when the Park Service waives admission fees, the move comes shortly after veterans were among those turned away from national monuments in Washington, D.C. during the partial government shutdown last month.
Images of World War II veterans being denied entry to a monument in their honor on the National Mall stoked passions amidst the 16-day shutdown that saw all Park Service units closed to visitors.
In keeping with a longstanding tradition, free admission is offered to all visitors, not just to veterans or military personnel, this weekend, according to statements released by public affairs offices in Grand Teton, Yellowstone and elsewhere.
Though most roads through Yellowstone have closed for the season, the road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Mont., through Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyo. to Tower Junction, the Lamar Valley and the Northeast Entrance to Silver Gate and Cooke City, Montana, is open year-round to autos.
In Grand Teton, Highway 26/89/191 is open from the town of Jackson, Wyo. to the south gate of Yellowstone, but not beyond. Other roads in Grand Teton and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway are closed to vehicle access for the winter season.
The Teton Park and Moose-Wilson roads are both closed to vehicles, but open as winter trails for non-motorized use; the Grassy Lake Road is closed to autos, but will open to snowmobile use on December 15. The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center is closed for the season, and will reopen for the 2014 season on April 7.
The Moose, Moran and Granite Canyon entrance stations are open, but not staffed until December 15. Visitors can drive through these entrance gates to reach park locations for hiking, biking and snowshoeing or skiing as conditions allow. Visitor services are limited in Grand Teton and the JDR Parkway until the winter season begins on December 15.
The National Park Service provides active duty members of the military and their dependents with an annual national park pass, an $80 value, at no charge. The passes provide entrance to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many other Federal lands—more than 2,000 in all. The passes can be acquired at Yellowstone or any national park that charges an entrance fee.
Although the military pass is not available to veterans and retirees, many of these individuals are eligible for other discounted passes such as the Senior Pass, granting lifetime access to U.S. citizens over 62 for $10, or the Access Pass granting free lifetime entry for permanently disabled U.S. citizens. Information about all national park passes is available at www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm.