All Veterans Now Get a Free Lifetime Pass to America’s National Parks
On Veterans Day 2022, the National Park Service unveiled a lifetime pass that provides free entrance to national parks for Veterans and their families. The Interagency Military Lifetime Pass waives entrance fees for the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites for current military service members and their dependents, Veterans and Gold Star Families
Veterans and their families have free access to public locations that are spread out across the United States. There are more than 400 million acres of land with activities for any lifestyle, such as hiking, fishing, paddling, biking, hunting, stargazing, camping, and more.
The Military Pass has been expanded to include a pass that does not expire for Veterans and Gold Star Family members. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 authorized a free lifetime pass to national parks and other federal recreational lands for eligible Veterans and Gold Star Families. Previously, they were only able to receive annual passes.
Are You Eligible?
For this program, a Veteran is someone who served in the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserve. They can show us one of these types of valid identification:
- DoD ID Card
- VHIC (Veteran Health ID Card
- Veteran ID Card
- Veteran’s designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or ID card
Gold Star Families are people who have a loved one who died while serving in the military. They might have died in a war or an international terrorist attack, or while serving outside of the United States.
The America the Beautiful – the National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Pass (Interagency Pass) Program
There is a free annual pass for active-duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents. Active-duty service members must show a valid Department of Defense ID, and dependents must show a valid DD Form 1173 AD or DEC.
Other free or discounted passes, including some lifetime passes, are available for persons with permanent disabilities, fourth grade students, volunteers and senior citizens who are 62 years or older.
How Do You Get Your Interagency Pass?
There are different types of Interagency Passes. You can get some of them by going to a place that participates in the program. For example, you can go to the USGS Online Store to buy a Military Pass, Senior Pass, or Access Pass. If you already have one of those passes, you don’t need to get a new one.
For more information about eligibility and passes, visit Free Entrance to National Parks for Veterans and Gold Star Families (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).
The agencies that are participating in this program offer several free days each year to commemorate different things. For example, on the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., National Public Lands day, Veterans Day, and the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act.
However, the fee-free days and policies vary among agencies. So it is best to check the website or contact the site you plan to visit before your trip.
Q: Where do I go to get my pass?
A: This link gives you pass locations here.
Q. Is this a new pass?
A. No, this is the same pass. However, it has been opened up to all veterans. Before it was limited to disabled veterans.
Q. What document(s) do I need to have with me when I visit the National Park to get the pass?
A. One of the following:
- DoD ID Card
- VHIC (Veteran Health ID Card)
- Veteran ID Card
- Veterans designation on a state-issued US driver’s license or ID card
Q. Where can I apply for a Veteran ID Card?
A. How to apply for a Veteran ID Card
Q. Where can I apply for a Veteran Health ID Card or VHIC?
This information was found on the official VA.gov website. If you do not wish to click on any of the links in this article, please visit the va.gov website for all official information.
Thanks for your service!
Les Waller (SSGT retired)