Released On: May 18, 2012
SONORA, CALIF. – The Bureau of Reclamation is one of several federal agencies offering a new, free annual pass to active duty service members and their dependents that grants them free access to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and other public lands, including Reclamation’s New Melones Lake, located in Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties.
The free pass is part of First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members the opportunities and support they have earned. Learn more about the Joining Forces initiative at http://www.whitehouse.gov/joiningforces. Beginning on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 19, active duty men and women in the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and activated National Guard and Reserves can obtain the new military version of the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass.
Active duty military members and their dependents can pick up their free pass at New Melones by showing a current, valid military identification card. Although the new pass is not available to veterans or retirees, other discounted passes are offered, such as the Senior Pass, granting lifetime access to U.S. citizens over 62 for $10, and the Access Pass, granting free lifetime access for permanently disabled U.S. citizens.
The free pass is good for one year from the date of receipt and admits the pass owner and accompanying passengers in a private, non-commercial vehicle at areas that charge “per vehicle” fees or the pass owner and up to three additional adults at sites that charge per person. No entry fees are charged for children 15 and under. The pass does not cover Expanded Amenity fees such as camping or boat launching. The pass is not also valid at facilities on federal lands managed by private concessionaires who charge for their services.
New Melones Lake is the only Reclamation-managed recreation area to implement the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (REA). REA is a special fee collection and retention program that authorizes participating recreation areas to collect and retain a portion of the revenues for directly related expenses in the area where the fees are collected to enhance visitor facilities and services.
For additional information about the pass, please visit: http://store.usgs.gov/pass/index.html. For information on recreation at New Melones, please call the New Melones Visitor Center and Museum at 209-536-9543 (TTY 800-877-8339), or visit the website at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/ccao/newmelones/index.html. The Visitor Center, managed by Reclamation’s Central California Area Office, is open every day throughout the summer from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
DOI | Recreation.gov | USA.gov
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