Die Department of Interior on Wednesday said the federal government is waiving fees on national parks, wildlife refuges and other federal lands for anyone who has worked in the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, as well as immediate family members of fallen service members, beginning on Veterans Day, Nov.. 11.
“With the utmost respect and gratitude, we are granting veterans and Gold Star Families free access to the iconic and treasured lands they fought to protect starting this Veteran’s Day and every single day thereafter,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt said in a statement Wednesday.
Vets and their families will have free access to 2,000 public parks and locations across 400 million acres to hike, fish, bike, hunt and embark on more outdoor activities.
The department also waived entrance fees for fifth graders and their families who didn’t get to use a pass designated for fourth grade students when parks were closed at the height of the pandemic earlier this spring. The waiver is effective now and will be good through August 2021.
More Americans have rediscovered the great outdoors as a result of nationwide shutdowns. Inderdaad, a study from last month found that nearly 6 in 10 Americans reported a new appreciation for nature during the quarantine.
And getting fresh air is known to boost moods and mental health. Getting outside and being exposed to the elements has a myriad of benefits on mental health and wellness, a number of studies have shown. Researchers in a 2015 study compared brain activity of people in good health after taking a 90-minute walk in nature, or in an urban setting, and found that those who did a nature walk had lower activity in the region of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, where negative thoughts and emotions are processed.
“When people are depressed or under high levels of stress, this part of the brain malfunctions and people experience a continuous loop of negative thoughts,” Dr. Strauss, director of geriatric psychiatry at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance, told Harvard Health.
Wat meer is, researchers found that being in nature and experiencing tranquil sounds of the outdoors can also lower blood pressure, bringing down stress levels and calm the body’s fight-or-flight response.