For years, NPCA’s veterans program has worked to meaningfully engage the military community— including veterans, active duty, reservists and military families — in supporting national parks through service projects and a variety of advocacy actions.
About Our Veterans Program
Our national parks should tell the full American story, including our country’s military history. The fight for our freedom, democracy and very way of life are told through our parks. Preserving and protecting our national parks means preserving these important military stories.
National parks commemorate and interpret military history at 156 different sites:
- The Park Service oversees 25 national battlefields and parks and 14 national cemeteries, including Vicksburg National Military Park.
- The Park Service manages nearly 500 fortifications such as Fort McHenry, which inspired the “Star Spangled Banner.”
- The Park Service is responsible for more than 15,000 acres of battlefields, including world-famous sites such as Gettysburg National Military Park.
These treasured places also offer veterans, active duty members and their families meaningful experiences, and places of solace and recreation away from military life. Through NPCA’s veterans program, we strive to ensure that every veteran in America has the opportunity to connect to their national parks and experience the healing powers these places provide.
NPCA has been working with veterans organizations across the country to provide experiences and opportunities for our vets to enjoy and support national parks in their communities, and to…See more ›
By introducing veterans to their national parks and their unique role in national park protection, we also work to build a diverse and powerful base of military park advocates equipped to speak up for their parks. Whether repairing or rebuilding trails in parks, participating in civic engagement activities or flying to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress, NPCA’s veterans program seeks to provide veterans with opportunities to continue serving their country while gaining knowledge, skills and a sense of camaraderie.
Ensuring our parks continue to have that same value to veterans and the military community means ensuring that our national parks are well-maintained, protected, and ready to continue welcoming visitors now and for generation to come.
Support veterans seeking outdoor recreational therapy, and tell Congress to pass the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act.
NPCA strongly supports the bipartisan Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act (H.R. 2435/S. 1263) to promote healing outdoors for our nation’s veterans. The bill, if enacted, would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish an interagency task force on the use of public lands to provide medical treatment and therapy to veterans through outdoor recreation.
National parks can play a critical part in the transition of soldiers to civilian life. Studies have shown that extended group-based nature recreation experiences can have significant positive impacts on veterans struggling with serious health problems. Research also indicates outdoor recreation can help veterans reintegrate with civilian life.
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