Fast-track legislation recently was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to create a new HOPE pass — providing lifetime access to America’s parks and other recreation sites — for those directly affected by the tragic events of Sept. 11, according to the Washington-based American Recreation Coalition (ARC).

Leading the effort to pass HR 2976, the Healing Opportunities in Parks and the Environment (HOPE) Pass Act, are congressmen Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Jim Hansen (R-UT).

“The legislation includes a message to all Americans: Time spent in our parks and other special outdoor places contributes to physical, mental and spiritual well being,” according to ARC President Derrick Crandall.

Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Gale Norton, appeared as the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the National Recreation and Park Association and she said, “Americans will find relief, solace and inspiration through recreation and visits to parklands.”

Norton, at the same time, announced that all entrance fees to national park areas will be waived during the Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 10-12, “to allow Americans the opportunity to seek solace and inspiration from the
nation’s parks, monuments and memorials.”