MADISON (WKOW)--State officials want to remind certain military veterans that they can use state parks and trails for free.
Eligible veterans include disabled veterans with a 70 percent or greater permanent or temporary disability rating by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA). Also eligible are disabled veterans determined by the federal VA to be totally disabled due to Individual Unemployability (TDIU). A third group of veterans eligible to receive free admission to state parks and use of trails includes former Prisoners of War (POWs).
"With Spring here, this benefit will allow many disabled veterans and those POWs who served our nation through the most difficult of circumstances the opportunity to get outdoors, visit our state parks and use the trails," said WDVA Acting Secretary Ken Black. "Working together with the DNR we can provide this wonderful benefit."
The program for waivers of vehicle admission and trail pass fees for admittance to state parks began in October 2008.
After six months, 343 veterans have applied for and received waivers from the DNR. Veterans may apply for the fee waiver by downloading and completing a Disabled Veteran Free State Park/Forest/Trail Pass Application (click here for the online form) and taking it to a County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO) to certify it.
The application must be signed and stamped by a CVSO and mailed to: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Parks and Recreation, 101 S. Webster St., P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.
Veterans should not send medical records to the DNR. The Bureau of Parks and Recreation will mail out an identification card for a veteran to present each time he or she visits a state park, forest, or recreation area, which will then issue the veteran a courtesy pass for the day. Veterans are required to carry their identification cards with them when using state trails that require a trail pass.
Eligible Wisconsin veterans may contact a local County Veterans Service Officer (see list on the Wis. Dept. of Veterans Affairs website at www.WisVets.com/CVSO). For more information, see WDVA's webpage at www.WisVets.com/parks or DNR's website at www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/parks/fees/waivers.html. Or call WDVA toll-free at 1-800-WIS-VETS (1-800-947-8387).