Kiggans introduces Military and Veterans in Parks Act

November 13, 2023
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 Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) and Congressman Scott Peters (CA-50) introduced the Military and Veterans in Parks (MVP) Act. The MVP Act aims to improve veterans’ physical and mental health by increasing their access to outdoor recreational activities in National Parks and federal lands. Specifically, the legislation would direct the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and National Parks Service to each develop adaptive trails and campgrounds in the regions they manage – as well as accessible hunting, fishing, and kayaking opportunities.

“National Parks can play an important role in the rehabilitation of those who have served in our military, helping heal both the visible and invisible wounds of war,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “Unfortunately, lack of accessible trails, activities, and lodging often prevent disabled Americans – particularly veterans – from enjoying all our treasured parks have to offer. As a Navy veteran and primary care provider, I understand the positive impact of outdoor activity and am determined to provide our veterans with every resource they need to build healthy, happy lives. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill and am confident it will allow our heroes to enjoy all that our beautiful National Parks have to offer!”

“As we approach Veterans Day, we are reminded of the great sacrifices of our servicemembers and their families and the debt we owe them,” said Rep. Peters. “This long weekend our wounded warriors should be able to enjoy the great outdoors like every other American, but unfortunately there are too few accessible trails and activities and the ones that do exist are not well publicized. Our MVP Act creates more opportunities for veterans and others with physical disabilities to fully partake in the wonderful recreational opportunities our national forests and federal lands have to offer.”

“While we can never fully repay our servicemen and women for their sacrifices to our country, we can always work to improve their lives and their access to our public lands,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman.“Many of our veterans and servicemembers take advantage of outdoor recreational opportunities as part of recovery and treatment for conditions like PTSD. I can think of no better way to honor our heroes this Veteran’s Day than by the introduction of the Military and Veterans in Parks Act, which will increase these opportunities and continue our steadfast support for those who serve. As a veteran herself, Rep. Kiggans knows the importance of these issues. I’d like to thank her for her leadership on this legislation, and I look forward to moving it through the House Committee on Natural Resources.”

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“Wounded Warrior Project strongly believes that accessible outdoor recreation can be a significant benefit to disabled veterans’ mental and physical health and wellbeing. That is why we are proud to support the MVP Act, which will increase the number of accessible trails and recreational opportunities on our nation’s public lands and promote the use of those opportunities among the military and veteran community,” said Jose Ramos, Vice President of Government and Community Relations, Wounded Warrior Project. “Additional provisions to create new employment opportunities for veterans in conservation and resource management will also help address financial wellness in the wounded warrior community. We thank Representative Kiggans for introducing the MVP Act and urge additional support throughout Congress.”

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