Six military families visiting the National Elk Refuge this past weekend were able to avail themselves of the recently-expanded America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass which offers lifetime access to federal recreation lands to recipients. The program was expanded earlier this month to be available to active duty military members and their families. Refuge Spokesperson Lori Iverson says all six of the servicemen in the group are a close-knit group who wanted to take advantage of the offer as they spent a last weekend together before being reassigned. All had recently returned from deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. The group is to be split up by their reassignment with one going to Germany, another to California, a third to Ohio and three still waiting their assignments. Upon receiving his pass, one of the servicemen remarked that he and his wife look forward to using it to explore other recreation areas near where he is being reassigned.