All veterans with a service-connected disability would receive free lifetime access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites under legislation introduced by a local congressman.

Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, said H.R. 4930 would amend the 2004 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act to extend eligibility for free lifetime national parks passes to all wounded veterans, regardless of disability rating.

Ruiz says the current law sets a high bar for wounded veterans, who must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities in order to qualify, which includes caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, speaking and breathing.

“National parks can connect our veterans with nature and increase their spiritual, mental and physical well-being,” Ruiz said. “Through the Wounded Veterans Recreation Act, we will expand the opportunity for our disabled veterans to visit these cherished sites and improve their overall health. I look forward to working to pass this bipartisan legislation, which would heal and improve the lives of our veterans.”

The passes are good at all national parks, plus hundreds more national wildlife refugees, national forests, grasslands and other public lands.

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