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Active-duty military offered annual passes to nat'l parks

Beginning Saturday, active-duty military members can receive a free annual pass that gives service men and women and their dependents access to more than 2,000 public land sites, including America's national parks.

The White House and the Department of the Interior announced the move in honor of Armed Forces Day on Saturday, which kicks off a weeklong celebration of America's military.

The pass will be accepted at all public lands with entry and amenity fees, including those managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps, according to a news release from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden.

Active-duty personnel from all military branches, including the National Guard and Reserves, can get the passes by showing a valid military identification card. Some veterans may also qualify for the pass, the release said.

For more information about the program, visit the National Park Service website.

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David Lienemann/White House

Vice President Joe Biden, with son Hunter Biden, and granddaughters Naomi, Finnegan and Maisy Biden, tour the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park on July 27, 2010.

Saguaro Nat'l Park to hold open house, offer passes

Saguaro National Park will hold an open house from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on  Saturday at the Rincon Mountain District (East) visitor center, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail, where active-duty military members and their families can tour the park and obtain their free annual pass to America's parks.

Service members and their dependents can pick up their passes at both the Rincon Mountain District and the Red Hills Visitor Center (West), 2700 N. Kinney Road. They must show a current, valid military identification card to obtain their pass, said park spokeswoman Natalie Luna Rose.

“We are proud to recognize these brave men and women and hope that a visit to this or any national park will offer an opportunity to unwind, relax, rejuvenate, and just have fun with their families,” said Saguaro National Park Superintendent Darla Sidles in a press release. “This new pass is a way to thank military members and their families for their service and their sacrifices.”