GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist has announced a new proposal that will give Michigan veterans free lifetime access to state parks.

“Michigan’s veterans are the best of us, and we can never do enough to live up to the sacrifices they have made,” Gilchrist said in a statement. “In next year’s budget proposal, we plan to give every one of Michigan’s 530,000 veterans free lifetime access to a state park. Our state parks are full of incredible natural resources and offer mental and physical benefits to visitors, which is why Governor Whitmer and I have worked hard to help more Michiganders get outdoors and explore all our state has to offer. We are proud of this step forward to better serve veterans and we will continue making Michigan the best place to be a veteran.” 

The program will apply to veterans as well as current active-duty service members.

“In the Michigan National Guard, we continue to work to improve the overall quality of life for those that choose to serve and the families that make it all possible,” U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said in a release. “With free lifetime access to a state park for military members and veterans, Michigan continues to strengthen its national profile as a great place for the military, veterans, and their families to live, work, and retire.”