Disabled Veterans Eligible for Free Access to National Parks

Disabled Veterans Eligible for Free Access to National Parks
A view of Lower Falls at Yellowstone National Park. (Kelly Cheng Travel Photography/Getty Images)

Veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 10 percent or higher can get free access to the Grand Canyon, Hawaii volcanoes, and hundreds of other national parks across the country – a benefit also available to active duty servicemembers.

Disabled veterans can apply for their pass in person at a participating federal recreation site (PDF) by presenting a photo identification card and documentation proving permanent disability, such as a VA Benefit Summary Letter (also known as an award letter), VA identification with service-connected disability annotation, VA summary of benefits, or receipt of Social Security disability income.

Disabled veterans may also apply by mail by sending documentation and $10 processing fee to the United States Geological Survey, Attn: Access Pass, Box 25286, Denver, CO 80225. Documents to include are the Access Pass application form (PDF), proof of residency and one of the following: VA disability award letter, VA summary of benefits, or proof of SSDI income. Passes sent by mail could take 10 to 12 weeks.

The pass for disabled veterans also includes discounts on amenity fees, such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and guided tours.

The VA highlighted the program in a recent blog post.

Active duty members can obtain a free pass for a year, while disabled veterans can apply for a Lifetime National Parks Access Pass through the Department of Interior that gives them access to more than 400 national parks and 2,000 recreation sites.

Active duty servicmembers may apply for a pass at a federal recreation site (PDF) by showing a Common Access Card or Military ID.

Amanda Dolasinski is MOAA’s staff writer. She can be reached at amandad@moaa.org. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMOAA.

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About the Author

Amanda Dolasinski
Amanda Dolasinski

Dolasinski is a former staff writer at MOAA.