Disabled Veterans eligible for free National Park Service Lifetime Access Pass

Good for entry into 400+ National Parks and over 2,000 recreation sites across the country


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Spring flowers are blooming, the summer travel season quickly approaches and Veterans are joining the 330-million yearly visitors enjoying U.S. National Parks.

Many Veterans, with a service connected disability rating, are entering Federal recreation lands and national parks for free with an America the Beautiful-the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands lifetime Access Pass through an interagency partnership between the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation. Good for entry into thousands of federally managed recreation sites across the country, the Lifetime Access Pass is another way a grateful nation says thank you for the service and sacrifices of U. S. Veterans with disabilities.                 

Camping under the stars – Credit NPS / Emily Ogden

Camping under the stars – Credit NPS / Emily Ogden                         

The Access Pass admits the pass owner and any passengers in a single, private vehicle (non-commercial) at per-vehicle entrance and day use fee areas; or, the pass owner plus three additional adults where per-person fees are charged. In addition to free entry at participating sites, the Access Pass includes discounts on some expanded amenity fees such as camping.  Sites recommend that pass owners check with each site before visiting for details about Access Pass entry and discounts.

Veterans who have been medically determined to have a permanent disability that severely limits one or more major life activities (e.g., VA disability rating of 10 percent or higher) are eligible for the Lifetime Access Pass—with three options for obtaining the pass:

First, Veterans with disability documentation can order the Access Pass online for a $10 processing fee which includes standard shipping. Documentation required includes:

  • Proof of residency
  • VA disability award letter, VA summary of benefits, or proof of SSDI income

Second, the Interagency Access Pass may be obtained through the mail. Download a paper application from https://store.usgs.gov/access-pass. Follow the instructions on the website and pay the document processing fee of $10.  Once the application package is received by USGS, the documentation will be verified and a pass imprinted with the pass owner’s name will be mailed to the applicant.

Passes ordered online or through the mail will be delivered 3 to 4 weeks after receipt of documentation and processing payment.

A third option is for disabled Veterans to visit a participating federal recreation site where interagency passes are issued, present photo identification (e.g., Driver’s license, State ID, birth certificate, Passport, or permanent resident card), provide documentation of permanent disability, or read and sign a Statement of Permanent Disability affidavit. That’s It. The Pass is free and issued at the time of entry.

Make sure to have photo ID available when using your Lifetime Access Pass and enjoy the majestic scenery and abundant recreational opportunities our National Parks provide. For additional questions regarding the pass, please check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

Author

Steven Clipp

Steve Clipp joined VA in 2017 with the White House/VA Hotline and is currently on detail as a communications specialist with the Veteran Experience Office. Steve, a Navy Veteran, served as an electronics technician in Fighter Squadron 31 (VF 31-F/14s) on-board the USS Abraham Lincoln. Using the GI Bill, he graduated from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.

Comments

  1. Brian Andrus    

    Ken and Bridgette at the Pfeifer Beach in Los Padres National Forest refused to honor my Veteran Pass. Said they were specifically told they do not allow ANY passes by the folks at Parks Management Company. What is the deal there?

    1. Rickb    

      I think something is going wrong. Every campsite in Daniel Boon national PK is not honoring the Access passes 50% off!! Turns out the park service is hireing out third parties and the best they would give me is $9 off of camping there with my pass. Then they charge a separate $11 for electricity. What a scam. We stick our necks out for them and they won’t give us our benefit?? What’s going on here??

  2. John W Morrison    

    Part of my 80% rating is tinnitus. Pretty permanent and not an outwardly visible disability.

  3. Edwin Roman    

    Several years ago I obtained my disabled veteran permanent pass, however after a recent vehicle crash I lost my pass. In order to obtain a replacement, will I need to reapply?

    1. Cynthia S    

      FYI I’ve been able to go into ANY national park and get a new Access Pass with just my WORD…before I ever saw this article and before I gained my 100% disability from the VA

  4. james G money    

    I am 100% Disabled, service connected, and I would like to know where I get the DD Form 2765 for flying aboard
    SpaceA. Can anyone help. Thanks, Jim

    1. Matt Lafontaine    

      Google form DD2765. You should be able to find a pdf version.

  5. Celia MAHER    

    Gosh, am shocked at some of the e-mails; service connected disabilities deserve special benefits as do senior citizens. It’s very simple folks:

    1. If you are 62 you are eligible for a lifetime access pass to our NATIONAL PARKS (NOT State Parks) for a very small fee-use to be $10.00 but Congress raised it recently to approx. $25.00. (age may have also been slightly raised).

    2. As for the disabled Veteran National Parks Access Pass, you can get it in person at any NATIONAL Park that charges an Access Fee. Note: This Pass does not work at State Parks-it is only valid at National Parks and Monuments. You have to check with your State VA services to see if a special access pass is offered for your State Parks and Recreation Services. State Parks are hard up for $$$ so there may not be any discounts available.
    3. If you don’t live near a National Park that charges access fees, you will have to apply through the mail and pay $10.00 processing fee. If you don’t visit National Parks, then why bother to get this? If you do visit National Parks and don’t want to pay a $10.00 processing fee, then wait until you visit a National park and get it in person. Bring your disability letter from VA benefits office to prove your disability rating and your driver’s license.

    1. William Kim Roehrig    

      The 10% disability rating mentioned in your email as qualifying for the free parks pass is not accurate per the personnel at the Baldwin Michigan District Forest Service office. I was just now informed they require a 30% rating.
      Also: I see another comment on here about buying a lifetime pass at the age of 62 or older. The correct cost of this pass is $80.

  6. Tricia    

    This is seems so misleading. I am an over 50% disabled vet but I am NOT permanently disabled. This application is for permanently disabled vets. The application cleared describes this and the applicant signs stating this are permanently disabled. Since I am not permanently disabled I cannot benefit from the program.

  7. Robert B    

    HEADS UP!!!! So, I’m rated at 20%. Took my paperwork stating so. Drove up to the gates to the Grand Canyon and the park lady says, “ that’s not accurate. We don’t care about your percentage. It’s only if you have a serious disability preventing you from one or more major life activity.”
    I was like…. uh, I got my paperwork from the VA here and the VA website said that if I brought it…..
    The lady cuts me off…. “I’ll give it to you, but that’s wrong.”
    I was like ???? This lady’s a total “B”…. Thanks for the pass……
    So just BEWARE I was told by the Grand Canyon park service, they don’t care about your disability rating!!!!!

  8. Disabled Veteran    

    Why is there Algebra?
    Solve : *
    30 ⁄ 10 =

    How do you solve it? 20/20 means 20/20 in vision.
    10/30 Rule means Blood transfusion under 10.0 Hematocrit and 30% Hemoglobin

    Now if we are talking the VA, yea they will make 30% = only 10%

    Nat’l Parks Please. Its hard enough to just shower, let alone get groceries.
    But at 100% Im suppose to Park Hopping? Hah!

  9. Stanley Fisher or    

    Golden Pass for over 62? And Veteran’s Natl. Park pass a 10% disability? Can this pass be picked up at our local Veteran’s Advocate office?

    1. Pedro Gutierrez III    

      I am only at 40%, so it only requiring 10% is awesome. The only problem is that not all national parks have this update. I went to one yesterday and they were requiring a 70% to get a free pass.

    2. Karen Katus    

      The Access Pass may be picked up at any recreational site that issues passes: https://store.usgs.gov/s3fs-public/PassIssuanceList.pdf
      It may also be ordered through the USGS Online (with a $10 handling fee): https://store.usgs.gov/access-pass
      It can be ordered through the USGS by Mail (with a $10 handling fee): https://store.usgs.gov/s3fs-public/access_pass_application.pdf

      For more information on the Access Pass, or other passes, check these Frequently Asked Questions: https://store.usgs.gov/faq

    3. J Noel    

      I called a few places and we ended up going to a park rangers office in Indiana to get ours. Very quick and easy in person.

  10. JJ    

    Good to know this. I think I had already heard something about it but never gave it much thought. I’ll be retiring soon, so any freebies I can get in my travels (as a ret vet w/ %-connection for my back) when I do call it a career will be very much welcome. Thanks for the heads up and regards to all fellow vets out there.

    1. TSgt Mark McLemore USAF Retired    

      Unfortunately, No! You have to go to the National Park and present DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS ID CARD with annotations of your VA Disability Rating or your Award Letter outlining your Disability Rating. You also can mail in the form with proper supporting documents. However, expect a minimum of 12 weeks for pass to arrive.

  11. Nathaniel Shackelford    

    I would like to know where are some of the places in Kansas that I can use this because I live in Kansas

  12. Tom Blaise    

    Is there some where I can go to find a list of recreation sites that are on the list for free access?

    1. Stanley Fisher or    

      Yes, please list the FREE recreation sites Nation wide. Thanks

      1. Wiechmann Ronald    

        The article contained a link to a list of all the national parks by state.

  13. Glen    

    This is a nice benefit and I have already taken advantage of it. The crooked San Diego property tax Assessor gave me a reduction for a 100% disability rating, as required, but somehow, the very next year, my property tax “assessment tax” amount, went Up by the very Same amount of the difference.

  14. Christopher Belson    

    Picked mine up today, thanks for the head’s up.

    Also, if you are in Washington State, they have a similar pass for veterans with a service connected disability of 30% or more. This one also comes with free camping/moorage and campsite reservations through the state system, watercraft launching, trailer dump and day-use entry, as well.
    For further details:
    https://parks.state.wa.us/205/Passes

  15. Tim Morales    

    I went to Channel Islands National Park in Ventura, CA and they do not issue the free pass. A park Ranger stated only fee charging parks will issue the pass and non-fee charging parks do not issue the pass. Since, Channel Islands National Park is a non-fee charging park they do not issue the pass. Therefore, according to the Park Ranger only go to fee charging National Parks to get the free pass.

  16. Mathieson    

    So I went to my nearby National Battlefield Park in Manassas VA today, Memorial Day weekend to get a lifetime pass. Come to find out that one of the largest National parks in the Washington DC doesn’t issue the passes. The ranger saying, “everything is free here”. True, but what about the discounts in the store and such. They no longer charge at this park, which seems they might want to again, at least for yearly passes to help pay for running the place. So they tell me to mail in an application, which I really don’t want to do, adding in more IDs, plus a $10 fee. I did bring out my VA letter showing 100% disability. Seems the Superintendent at this park needs to get his act together and help vets, vs having his Rangers sending disabled vets to another park far way on a holiday weekend. The White House should see to it that all parks, that have a staff on site, at a welcome desk, issue these. In fact they said they used to a few years ago. So why did they stop. Who knows. I had a couple of rangers there telling me they couldn’t help. Seems like they have the personnel to do this.

    1. Daniel Mcnece    

      I live near Manassas too. Try going to Great Falls near McLean, just north of Tysons area. I’m about to do it myself. Just don’t go Tuesdays. Found out last week the entry office is closed on Tuesdays, so it’s a free entry day.

  17. Christopher Beasley    

    This is a great benefit for BLIND and PERMANENTLY DISABLED Veterans. The language in the application is clear. https://store.usgs.gov/s3fs-public/access_pass_application.pdf

    Keywords in the application…”result of blindness or permanent disability. If you look closely at your VA disability rating and Benefit Summary, it should tell you whether you have a permanent disability or not. Even if you are well over the 10% minimum for the Access Pass, the VA may not have determined you have permanent disability. Please verify this before applying otherwise you may be fraudulently receiving a benefit intended for those who truly need it.

    From the application….”A document issued by a Federal agency, such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Administration, which attests that you have been medically determined to be eligible to receive Federal benefits as a result of blindness or permanent disability. Other acceptable Federal agency documents include proof of receipt of Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI);”

  18. Carolyn King    

    Misleading title on the email announcing free national park access, not mentioning it is for the disabled vets only, until we read the article.  Click bait I hear that is called.

    1. tonygreene113    

      There are no more participation trophies in a #MAGA America.

    2. Chris FitZ    

      You obviously didn’t read the title OR the article, as it was clear through both who this was aimed at.

  19. LORENE GROVES    

    does free pass also apply to the spouse of a 100% disabled vet who is deceased?

  20. David Cordova    

    I just purchase a year pass, is there any way to get the fee refunded and get this instead? I just found out about this today.

  21. CPT America    

    “Let me understand this. Because I don’t have a service connected disability, my status as a Veteran is less important than someone who unfortunately has a service connected disability.”

    No, it is given to the subset of veterans who have service connected disabilities. Your status as a veteran isn’t less important, it’s because you don’t have a service connected disability. I would gladly give up my benefits to get the last 5 years of my life back where as a 30 year old I can’t drive or bathe myself. Count your blessings.

  22. Lowell K Gregory    

    I signed up for a free access pass a couple of years ago and received a “AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL’ pass. It allows free entry to all National Parks and now I’m wondering if it is the same and if the name changed.

  23. Kenneth Binkley    

    Don’t like my comment… so you remove it.. ? the VA sucks!

    1. tonygreene113    

      This is what deep state types l eft over from the obummer years do.

  24. Robert J Ahles    

    How many of you veterans applied for this free pass and signed the application stating that you had an “impairment that severely limits one or more major life activities”. “Major life activities include functions such as: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, etc.” I am a Vietnam combat wounded veteran that has only a 10% disability rating and could not honestly sign that statement.

    1. D    

      Then why are you receiving 10% if nothing is wrong?

      1. Robert J Ahles    

        Because I was wounded in Vietnam and have a Purple Heart. No PTSD!

    2. Anthony Julian    

      That is for the licensed physician statement. there is an OR for Vets in the second bullet point.
      A document issued by a Federal agency, such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Administration, which attests that
      you have been medically determined to be eligible to receive Federal benefits

    3. Christopher Belson    

      I applied in person and didn’t have to fill out or sign a form.
      The ranger who issued it to me asked me nothing similar, only what I did in the service.
      Heaven knows the gov’t used, and often abused, some of the best years of our lives. If years later, the VA and Park Service agree that we’re eligible for and want to give us a free pass to see the most beautiful parts of the country that we served to protect, then why turn it down?
      I mean, you’re free to reject it, of course, but you could just stuff some money into the the park’s donation box instead of giving it to the ranger at the park gate and keep the line moving. 🙂

    4. Paco Loco    

      Why are you worried about others, are you a VA doctor? If you didnt want to sign it then thats you, why worry about other people, stay in your lane and mind your own business! Why is it so hard for some of you to do that?

    5. AL    

      Have no problem doing it. 40% rating here.

    6. Frank S. Calenda    

      A 10% disability rating can cover a multitude of problems. Your desire not to apply for this pass is commendable in your own right, but for many others it may be a blessing. Senior Citizens can also get a pass for only being Senior Citizens. I hope your note doesn’t discourage other 10%’ers from accepting this valuable offer from our government, Someone must have thought it was worth it or they never would have offered it..

    7. Abby Albert Scicchitano    

      And I’m thankful you’re honest and you should be proud that you are. I myself have been 100% connected from leaving the discharge shack, yet lest I judge or call out anybody else with a disability to deal with in their life. Every situation is different and it is none of my concern or my business to think or overthink about, nor yours sir. Nobody but that person can say what their body feels like or what trauma fosters in their mind. I was told as a child and I live up to it everyday “Don’t worry about anybody else’s personal business, worry about yourself”. Yet I will help anyone and I care, anything else would constitute a jealousy or narcissistic behavior as that they aren’t entitled to what they get or have because to you you don’t see any disability in them. No disrespect and I wish you peace within. Be kind to others because I don’t want to go back to being a combat medic. And I hope that nobody would commit fraud to that extent for a free pass to a park. Good day.

  25. Debra A Schoonover    

    I got mine on a trip to Phoenix in Nov 2015. Took the trip when living in FL for a NASCAR race and had an entire day free before. My younger brother was with me and we decided to drive up to the Grand Canyon. Price would have been quite a bit, but saw the post on the guard shack about this pass and got mine right there. Now, I love my NASCAR…have been to dozens of races from Miami to Phoenix to NH and never miss one on TV…..BUT that trip was worth the Grand Canyon ALONE!

  26. Tony Gatlin    

    I got my disabled Access Pass at Wheeler Wildlife Refuge without a problem. The first place I tried to use it was Clear Creek in Bankhead Forrest in Alabama. They would not accept it and had to pay $6 to get in. The Access Passes are even offered on Clear Creek’s website.

  27. David Sunkle    

    YES I AM A RETIRED U.S.NAVY VETERAN MMCS I AM 70 % DISABLED RIGHT NOW. STILL WAITING FOR MY 100% DISABILITY FOR AGENT ORANGE EXPOSURE for SHIP STATIONED IN THE GULF. 1967 to 1971 THANK YOU.

    1. L chester    

      I have has been waiting since 2004 for agent Orange disability. You think i will ever get it? A navy vietnam veteran.

    2. tonygreene113    

      I’m a 100% p/t vetera. Started fighting for service connected disability after 17 years separated from service.
      Every bit helps.

  28. Gregory Gilmont    

    Unable to download pass maybe email?

  29. Lawrence Kmet    

    I have been trying for several days to download the PDF application and keep getting the same response, ”
    Can’t connect securely to this page
    This might be because the site uses outdated or unsafe TLS security settings. If this keeps happening, try contacting the website’s owner.
    Try this:
    Go back to the last page”
    Any ideas on how I can obtain the form? Thanks

    1. Anthony Julian    

      It must be an issue with your internet browser. I was able to download with Firefox (67.0) and Chrome (74.9.3729.169)

    2. hazelbelle    

      I wouldn’t apply for this pass online. There is a $10 processing fee. Just wait till you go to a location that has a fee to enter. If it is a federal recreational area that charges a fee, they should have those passes there also. Just get it then. It takes about 30 seconds to process. You do not have to show proof of disability but you may be asked to sign an document stating you have a disability (honor system). This pass is not exclusive to veterans. It is a pass for ANY disabled citizen or permanent resident of the US. It is a lifetime pass and is only issued to the one with the disability but anyone in the vehicle with that individual does get into the area under that pass.

    3. Abby Albert Scicchitano    

      Sir I salute your comment and your thinking.

  30. Karlene Huckman    

    Mail I mail the application packet with a check payment rather than filling out the credit card information?

    1. Andrew    

      Just called the number on the form. Yes you can send a check instead of putting a CC # on the form.

  31. William Huggins    

    Did anyone else notice that there are only 58 national parks in the USA? We’ll see if a 10% disability qualifies…

    1. DAVID L PATNEAU    

      I’m one of the few which chose to receive my disability compensation through the US Army/ PDRL and DFAS rather than the VA. (Army Pensions are guaranteed during government shutdowns). Thought it was a good idea at the time. How’s it work for us?

    2. Karen Katus    

      The passes provide entrance or access to more than 2,000 Federal recreation sites. This is an interagency pass and includes Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Army Corps of Engineers sites, in addition to the National Parks and monuments.

      Yes, a 10% disability should qualify.

      1. Kristina Clark    

        Thank you for the extra information, it is very helpful.

    3. Chris Bramblett    

      As far a true “National Parks”, such as Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, etc. then there are 61. If you speak about the entire National Park System, which includes Monument, Memorials, Seashores, Lakeshores, Recreation Areas, Preserves, Historic Sites, Military Parks, etc, then there are 419.

  32. Jimmy E. Winberry    

    I would like to have an application by mail. I am a retired Marine Corp Veteran of 24 years service. I am rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Administration. I am a real novice when it comes to computers and not comfortable doing much of anything via the Web.
    Jimmy E. Winberry (redacted)

    1. Sue McCormick    

      If you have a Forrest Service Office in your area, go there with your paperwork showing your disability rating and they will issue you one right then and there for free.

  33. Sherice Kral    

    Am I missing something? I’m filling out the application but it’s saying there’s a $10 charge. The email I got from VA news stated that this was free for disabled vets.

    1. Gary Hicks    

      I believe it is free if you apply in person, but a $10 processing fee if you mail in an application.

    2. Chris Bramblett    

      Yes, If you apply on the website or by mail there is a 10 dollar processing fee for all America the Beautiful Passes which includes access to 6 federal land agency locations, (National Parks, US Fish and Wildlife, US Forest Service, Army Corp of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation).

    3. Sue McCormick    

      Go to a Forrest Service Office – it’s free, fast, and easy.

  34. Belinda    

    Actually just because you live to 62 does not mean you get it free it is $80. So I’d appreciate you getting your facts straight. And the difference in a disabled that and a vet is for me anyway the vent goes out and he gets him another job and he works and he lives his life a disabled vet probably does not get to work as much as a a veteran. I don’t care if you are a vet disabled or retired I don’t care if you were a vet and you left this country and your family to go somewhere else then you deserve a free lifetime pass no big deal. And somebody needs to put it in front of Congress if that’s what it takes. We can give free to everything that comes in this country we can give our vets a free pass for their families

    1. Will Gonzalez    

      Belinda,

      It appears you are a very angry person.You don’t articulate your message very clearly. It’s my believe that the vets posting here are attempting to help one another. Your type of messaging does not belong in this forum….my thought

    2. Wanda Williams    

      WOW We can give free to everything that comes in this country we can give our vets a free pass for their families
      I’ll bet “illegals” get anything they want **FREE** including this benefit or all else democraps will have another sissy convulsion, duh!!! **”imagine that here in the united states of north mexico!!!!

    3. PEGGY MILLER    

      I got my free ‘Senior’ park pass about 2 years ago at the US Forestry office in Fresno, CA. As I recall the ‘free’ pass was going to start having a fee. That was what motivated me to find the office and get my age related pass. The process took less than an hour.

    4. Bob Born    

      Not $80 for seniors… I went with my Dad. His was free lifetime pass for over 62! Eat those facts, jack!

  35. Danny Murphy    

    In Pocatello, Idaho please come to the Forest Service office at 4350 Cliffs Drive instead of the BLM/Department of the Interior, and I can help you out.

  36. Doris A Reeves    

    It is all national parks and monuments . You can visit national parks website to find these.

  37. Karen Katus    

    There is some misinformation in the article and the comments. For complete information on the pass, please follow the following links:

    Access Pass Frequently Asked Questions: https://store.usgs.gov/faq#Access-Pass
    List of sites that issue the Access Pass: https://store.usgs.gov/s3fs-public/PassIssuanceList.pdf
    Link to where you can order the Access Pass online: https://store.usgs.gov/access-pass

  38. Tom Gibbons    

    I got mine today at Johnson’s Beach National Seashore, Perdido Key, FL Showed my VA card and that was it. Got my card and on my way in less than two minutes.

  39. Kevin Schindler    

    What is the address to send the application to?

    1. Andrea Morris    

      USGS Attn: Access Pass Box 25286
      fedrecpass@usgs.gov 1-888-ASK-USGS (1-888-275-8747)
      Denver, CO 80225

    2. James Carey    

      Hello Kevin:

      Download the PDF application form. Get it here:
      https://store.usgs.gov/s3fs-public/access_pass_application.pdf

      Look on the bottom of page 2 of the application form for the address. It is:
      Send your completed Application to:
      USGS
      Attn: Access Pass
      Box 25286
      Denver, CO 80225

      Questions:
      fedrecpass@usgs.gov
      1-888-ASK-USGS
      (1-888-275-8747)

      I will say though that from reading the article, it looks to me to be a lot easier to get it at a National Park.

    3. Mike Johnson    

      It’s in the application.

    4. Hoke    

      Kevin, READ THE FORM! IT says IN BOLD where to send the completed application to. C’mon were all vets here and can follow instructions right?

      1. Sam Shwartz    

        Hey … he might be blind; you don’t know. Lighten up!!!

    5. RL Alsbury    

      The address is on the application.
      USGS
      Attn: Access Pass
      Box 25286
      Denver, CO 80225

  40. Kevin Schindler    

    What is the address you mail an application to?

    1. Charisse Romero    

      USGS
      Attn: Access Pass
      Box 25286

      fedrecpass@usgs.gov

      1-888-ASK-USGS
      (1-888-275-8747)
      Denver, CO 80225

  41. VeteranWhoReallyWorks    

    It is mind boggling what a great service this is yet people are complaining. I am a Desert Storm Veteran, non-combat with service connection. Please stop complaining. It is embarrassing.

    1. Sue McCormick    

      Thank you – I was thinking the same thing! Anyone who doesn’t want to pay the $10 processing fee, just go to a National Park or the Forrest Service Office near you – it’s FREE there.

  42. Mike Fournier    

    You still have to pay to go to Rushmore. How they do it is that they charge you for parking. Total BS on that one.

    1. PJT    

      Just went to MR last week…military did not have to pay for parking. When leaving the lot the kiosk has option to select military.

    2. Russell J Gamel    

      We experienced that too, and it pissed me off. The parking fee was their excuse. I showed her my lifetime pass, and she said “You cannot use that here.” It is ridiculous and disrespectful!!

      1. Jenn Griffith    

        I just feel they are uneducated about their S.O.P. Smh. Or just being totally ignorant. If I printed it off they can’t say anything to me.

    3. Sue McCormick    

      If you read the instructions, you have to pay for parking at some monuments because the are NOT run by the National Park Service, they are private contractors. It doesn’t cost that much anyway. Be thankful you have a free pass, it’s not something that everyone can get. Quit complaining.

  43. James W. Putnam    

    I went to the Grand Canyon in July of 2017. When we entered the gate to the park, I asked for my Golden Access Pass. The Park Ranger on duty was condescending and extremely rude. She demanded information on my disability rating and seemed to focus on whether I was 100% disabled. I displayed my retired military ID, my VA ID card and I asked her if she was having a bad day! She, reluctantly handed me the pass and told me I must sign it. She then handed me a permanent marker and scoffed at me when I couldn’t get the cap off to sign with it. Because it had a retractable spring point! I don’t why she was so cross or it bothered me so much. I just don’t believe people should be in positions of authority without some kind of background check for sociopathic behavior and a false sense of superiority over the less fortunate. Personally, I feel proud to have served my country and sympathy for those who were unable or unwilling to serve. Additionally, anyone having served in the military for at least one full term of obligation and received an Honorable Discharge, should receive access to National Parks. The percentage of veterans to total population is negligible.

    1. Mau Califa    

      I completed understand what you went through, what I do in case I would ask for her Name and ID and the name of her supervisor, putting she/he on its place.

      1. Wanda Williams    

        WOW We can give free to everything that comes in this country we can give our vets a free pass for their families
        I’ll bet “illegals” get anything they want **FREE** including this benefit or all else democraps will have another sissy convulsion, duh!!! **”imagine that here in the united states of north mexico!!!!

    2. Russell J Gamel    

      There is a system in place for this, and we cannot just drive up to a park entrance expecting free admission.

    3. Barry Litchfield    

      Less than 1% of the US population are military veterans.

      1. Mike    

        No, less than 1% of the current population are active veterans, a little over 7% of the current population are veterans.

  44. CMAlex    

    I was told at the visitor center that I had to be 100% disabled to qualify for the pass. I’m at 40% (30% above the quoted 10%). Who said 10% was the minimum requirement? Maybe that person can explain to the actual park rangers at the visitor center that they need to read up on all things VA?

    1. Andrea Morris    

      I am a disabled Vet. However I also work in Federal Government first the VA and now FS. Perhaps the VA and other federal agencies should try communicating with each other before they change another agencies policy. This was not always the existing policy with the passes so I could see how several agencies would be caught off guard with the VA just changing the rules without letting them know. On the flip side I always wondered why they had free Active Duty passes and not something for Veterans.

      1. Sue McCormick    

        I’ve had mine for over 20 years, so this is NOT a new program. It sounds more like people who have chips on their shoulders and don’t want to do their jobs and help people who are eligible for it. I know that when my original one was replaced by a newer one, the person at the Badlands National Park, simply explained to me that it needed to be replaced and gave me a new one on the spot.

    2. Jones Mike    

      The site says ( does not have to be 100% )

    3. Kaitlyn Raine    

      I was told in Cedar Hill, TX that it had to be 60%. Has the percentage changed recently or is this typo? Thanks!

    4. Stephen Sumner    

      I am curious too. I emailed the National Parks and they told me permanent disability. Is that permanent 100% or a permanent disability of 10% and higher…

  45. Elizabeth Holmes    

    I am a legally blind veteran, is it possible to receive the application in the mail? Also in large print. I have all the necessary paperwork and I am eager to visit these parks.
    Thank you

  46. Allan F Demorest    

    I have a Golden Age Passport. Do I need this also. I got it when they first came out.

  47. Sandra Lee Anderson    

    I am a widow of a disabled veteran (100%). Can I apply for this pass?

  48. Daniel Wade Davis    

    Can we get this pass at our local veterans service office?

  49. Chief Shiparski    

    For all those whining about this nice benefit, please just be happy that you are not disabled and try to be for your disabled comrades. There are plenty of recognition programs for veterans. Personally, I have a 100% rating but appreciate that this is for 10% and up.

  50. Anthony Rumore    

    Hello,

    Is there a list of the parks available? Thanks in advance.

  51. Lewis Ollice    

    Does the pass only include the disabled veteran or is there a spouse encluded?

    1. Janice L Cerda    

      Read the article through, your question is answered.

  52. kevin working    

    This pass is the same as senior citizen pass. I know because I have the disable veteran pass and my brother has the senior pass. Not so special.

    1. Frank    

      The senior pass now costs $80 and does not provide the financial discounts.

      1. Benjamin Eby    

        The Senior Pass includes all the same discounts as the access pass, which is free access to all sites that charge an entrance fee and 50% discount on some expanded amenity fees (camping, boat launching, etc). Both passes are basically the same, just different criteria to be eligible for them.,

    2. Joan Acquistapace    

      It might be the same, but many of our brothers and sitar’s not seniors yet. Semper Fi!

    3. Shannon Dobbs    

      I’m still in my 40s with a disability, so it’s pretty special for me and tons of other vets who aren’t senior citizens and wouldn’t otherwise have these benefits.

  53. Steven Whittemore    

    Thank you for writing the article, I had no clue federal parks were free.
    I know that Maine Parks and Rec do the same. Don’t remember the disability percentage required.
    Maine also has a free lifetime hunting and fishing license if you are a veteran and are at least 50% combat related disabled.

  54. David Clyde Martin    

    I can’t find an application for a Disabled Veteran lifetime National Park Pass. Can you provide me with the application form?
    Thanks Dave Martin

  55. Henry J. Verner    

    Thank you Steve as you can see, even when information is concise and direct many still miss the essences of what is conveyed!

  56. Teri Dixon    

    Dan , this is shameful that they would disregard their own rules . I would seek guidance from the South Park Ranger District 719 836-2031 as to why they are not following the rules on the access point and their website. Thank you for your service .

  57. James Mick Epperson    

    There us a National Parks pass for Veterans regardless of Disability. You pay a one time fee.

  58. Bradford Eckroad    

    Please send an application via e-mail.

  59. Kenneth G. Allen Sr    

    Thank you all for your service, this program seems to have been designed for veterans with service connected disabilities . I can appreciate all the vets that feel like second class citizens because they got out without injuries and are left out of this offer maybe you can start a petition so all vets that ever served can get free entry passes. I wish you all well! 1966 – 1970 Vietnam Era 100%

  60. Darrell Fanguy    

    The article says 10% or higher eligible, but the application says severely disabled. I don’t think 10% usually qualifies as severely disabled, I could be wrong.

    1. Tom Lietaert    

      I’ve never needed anything more than my VA ID which simply has “service connected” on it.

    2. JJ    

      You’d be surprised. I lost and eye and I’m at 30%.

  61. Robert Funke    

    I received mine in Quincy MA at the start of the John Adams Tour. I just asked the Ranger about Vet discounts, He asked if I was disabled, I said yes, I got my pass on the spot after I showed him my VA ID. A very pleasant surprise, (I still put a few dollars into the donation locations at the Ranger Stations, pay if forward).

    1. Bonnie Graham    

      JJ you are eligible for more disability compensation and benefits than you are getting. ‘Loss of’ or ‘loss of use’ falls under a different tier of disability compensation called “SPECIAL MONTHLY COMPENSATION” and is a lesser known and harder to navigate tier of disability. But it is in addition (in most cases) to your regular disability rating (Schedular tier of disabilities ranging from 10%-100% for each disability). I suggest you do some checking through a veteran’s advocate group at http://www.Hadit.com You could choose their Forum Discussion and then search in the search bar for ‘Special Monthly Compensation” Then look for or search that subject for “Loss of an Eye”. JJ I also suspect you should have been rated 100% under the Schedular ratings. But that is something I’m not sure of….check it out for sure. The SMP tier has additional assistant benefits besides the increase in monthly dollars too. The VSO officers who usually assist with claims do not know very much, if anything, about the SMP tier. My late husband qualified through loss of use of his kidney function. He did peritoneal dialysis every day at home for 5 years before he died of his heart condition in Dec 2015. He was already rated 100% for his heart and 40% for diabetes. When we tried to add the kidney failure we were told by several VSOs that we couldn’t go above 100%. NOT TRUE! We learned too late. If he had died of kidney failure, I would not have been able to get part of his disability monthly as I do now. That’s part of why it’s important to get rated and updated ratings. I wish you luck JJ.

  62. Francis Fitzpatrick    

    Need application for my HUSBAND disabled vet.
    (redacted)
    thanks
    Francis J. Fitzpatrick

  63. Nancy J Ricany    

    Yes. It’s not fair. Give the pass to every honorably discharged veteran!!!!

    1. kevin Karr MSgt Ret    

      Life is not fair – I’m sure that most all of us that have served and were injured/disable would trade this pass for good health. -kevin

  64. Justin Bowen    

    I’ve had one for years. It’s worth it’s weight in gold as I’ve traveled to hundreds of sites over the past decade or so.

  65. Lawrence V Wonch    

    Send your completed Application to: Questions:
    USGS
    Attn: Access Pass
    Box 25286
    fedrecpass@usgs.gov
    1-888-ASK-USGS
    (1-888-275-8747)
    Denver, CO 80225

  66. rick    

    I tried to use my Access pass last year at Mt Rushmore but they declined it. They told me that Mt Rushmore was not a national park. Why isn’t Mt Rushmore a national park?

    1. Teri Dixon    

      Mt. Rushmore is free to enter , you have to pay for parking .

    2. Timothy J    

      It is a National Memorial and they only charge for parking. It is free to enter.

    3. Wes Parker    

      I have been to Mt Rushmore several times and asked that question on my first visit. The park us free to enter, however you have to pay to “park” which is privately owned. Not sure how that happened on Federal land but that’s the skinny on Rushmore.

    4. Rodney Beck    

      There is no fee for Rushmore. Just a parking fee

  67. Matthew McGuinn Jr    

    Where do I get an application?

    Sincerely,

    Mattheww McGuinn JR

  68. Charles R Hamilton    

    To make it easier on veterans why not just issue the pass when the disability papers are sent to the veteran. For those who are already in a disability status the VA should issue the pass to them now, not like they do not have the records.

    1. Tim Meakin    

      Right! I had to pay to enter GCNP, tben go to Park HQ to present paperwork. My card and refund were issued there.

    2. Richard H Beaulier    

      Great idea but would make it way to easy!!

    3. Matthew Kingswell    

      Because that makes to much sense. I’m going to stop in at the vsc before my appointment tomorrow and figure out why not. They may not even have heard of it. Lol.

  69. Rick Bertino    

    The access Pass is fantastic. Thanks VA and citizens!

  70. Foresooth    

    Another example of where you have to be disabled to account for anything. Those of us that served and didn’t retire and didn’t get hurt are treated like outcasts.

    1. Donald Brumfield    

      Why should you receive the same benefits as those who served to retirement or have received a disability?

    2. Elevate Your Feet    

      Gee… sorry you aren’t disabled and living with daily pain so that you can get a free trip to the park. I bet most of the people who are eligible would trade with you.

      1. Elevate your nonsense    

        “Most” of the people with military disability ratings are NOT “disabled and living with daily pain.” There are far far more people with 10% for trivial issues like tinnitus — which is as likely to be non-service-connected as not — who line up at the trough for freebies like this.

        If you’re going to whine about people who haven’t earned this benefit, whine about the fact that any mouthbreathing parasite who made it to 62 gets a free lifetime pass for nothing more significant than managing to avoid drowning in their own saliva for 62 years. Working veterans are expected to subsidize the elderly as it is, despite the elderly being the richest portion of the US population — this is just insult added to injury, by politicians and bureaucrats trying to cozy up to greedy old voters.

        1. Steve Spears    

          So, you have to be in pain in order to be disabled. Wow!! If hearing loss and tinnitus is not a disability, I do not know what is. Try listening to a constant ring in your ears twenty-four hours a day or not being able to socialize because you can hardly recognize what people are saying, then maybe you can complain. Try working around jet engines for years and then tell me what you think about being nearly deaf.

      2. Bob Zurasky    

        Good call! I did 38 years and feel that the disability is a strong qualification. I have been fortunate enough to not be injured in battle, just hearing loss and some arthritis from physical strains and injuries. It would be so easy to give it to everyone but that is why it is a program for the disabled.

        1. Mike Stacy    

          I’m 100% veteran and don’t care if your 10% you served your country and no one should complain about us getting a freebie discount, I assure u we’ve earned every thing and more we get free.

    3. Steven Whittemore    

      Ya my brother is in the same boat. 6 years in the Marine Corps and nothing to show but a expired ID.

      I was medicaly retired after 13 years. And 70% disabled Army Vet.

    4. Ralph Ragosta    

      I guess you believe everyone should get a trophy also. I’m sorry I didn’t dedicate a full 20+ years or get hurt but give me benefits and stuff anyway, even though I sacrifice as much.

  71. Susan Viafora    

    What about widows of disabled veterans who are also disabled and on SS disability?

  72. Pamela Bozkurt    

    Hello,
    Is there a way to sign up online to get the pass? I’m not inclined to write down my credit card info and ship through the mail.
    Thanks,
    P.S. Bozkurt

  73. Jeffrey Kramer    

    When I received my full disability claim I was issued a Golden Eagle life time access parks pass. Is this pass still valid ?

  74. ANTHONY JOSEPH COOK    

    Please provide a mailing address for the US Geological Survey to obtain this free pass. Thank you.

  75. Alvin Britton    

    is this the same as the Golden Age Passport

  76. Ed Gregory    

    Thanks, Steve, for your military service and for writing this clear and succinct story. I hope to avail myself of this benefit the next time I’m at a national parks facility.

    Ed Gregory
    30%
    Vietnam 69-70

  77. Thomas Blue    

    Both the Department of Interior and the National Park Service indicate that this pass does not exist. They refer you to other passes that are available. Also, when checking the United States Geological Survey website it shows no knowledge of this pass. The application indicates that this is for the AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL – THE NATIONAL PARKS AND FEDERAL
    RECREATIONAL LANDS ACCESS PASS. I will attempt to obtain the pass by mail but the article should be more clear on just what pass it is that a disabled vet can obtain.

    1. Nicole    

      I just got a pass at Zion national Park. It does exist and it was amazing!

  78. Kenneth Dale Bradford    

    I do not collect ssdi but I have a 40% rating do I still qualify?

    1. Nicole    

      Yes you still qualify

  79. Marjorie Mckay    

    I am a widow of a Vietnam Veteran who died from his service connected disability. Can I utilize the free national park pass or is it just for the Veteran?
    Thank you!

  80. Dan Wakeman    

    Too bad Eleven Mile Canyon National Forest would not honor my Access Pass or my Disabled Veteran license plate issued by the State of Kansas, contrary to the guidance posted at the access point.

    1. Teri Dixon    

      Dan
      I think it is shameful that they denied you this access. You should seek guidance from the South Park Ranger District 719 836-2031 as why they disregarded their own access point and web site rules.

      Thank you for your service and sacrifice .

  81. Gary C Grant.    

    My email address is (redacted). I would like a natinonal park pass.

  82. John Drake    

    Why just disabled? I don’t have a supplemental income and I’m an honorably discharged veterans.

  83. Charles Coxson    

    Let me understand this. Because I don’t have a service connected disability, my status as a Veteran is less important than someone who unfortunately has a service connected disability.

  84. Ray Bruneau    

    When did this program begin?

  85. Daniel Mcnece    

    Is this for any disability rate or only 100% disabled?

    1. Daniel Mcnece    

      Never mind, just saw the 10% or higher.

      1. Christopher Beasley    

        The application states “Blindness or Permanent Disability”. Please verify with your VA Benefit Summary found at– https://eauth.va.gov/ebenefits/download-letters –as to whether your disability is considered permanent. I would venture to say that many of us who have a rating above 10%, have not been determined to be “permanently disabled” by the VA. It states this clearly on the VA Benefits Summary.

    2. Leonard Griswold    

      The article states 10% and above.

  86. David L Rennicks    

    What about regular Veterans? Any discounts or anything? It’s hard enough being retired, getting SSA,
    Having Medicare taking their share of my minimal retirement check?

  87. Kupono McDaniel    

    Disabled everyone can get the pass at any National Park.

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