The National Park Service (NPS), in partnership with the US Department of the Interior and Fish and Wildlife Service, among others, continues to offer free lifetime access passes to over 400 national parks and 2,000 recreation sites nationwide to any veteran with at least a 10% disability rating.
How do I get a Lifetime Pass?
Veterans can receive the lifetime pass on the spot at any federal recreation area where passes are issued by presenting:
- A form of government-issued identification (e.g. driver’s license, state ID, passport, birth certificate); and
- Documentation proving a service-connected disability (e.g. Veterans Affairs Summary of Benefits, VA award letter, or documentation showing Social Security Disability Income).
For a $10 processing fee (which includes shipping), veterans can also order a pass online. However, this can take up to four to five weeks to deliver once necessary paperwork is submitted.
Mail orders can also be completed by downloading an application directly from the United States Geological Survey website.
What does it Allow?
The pass grants access for a driver and any passengers entering a park in a non-commercial vehicle and includes a number of discounts on park amenities such as camping or guided tours.
What about Active Duty Personnel?
Active duty military remain eligible for a free year-long
version of the access pass, which includes the same perks, for that year, as its lifetime counterpart.
Current personnel can apply onsite at any of the above locations by providing a military ID.
Simkins, J.D. (2019) Disability Rating = Free Access to National Parks. Air Force Times. 18 November 2019, pp.33.