Great resource for families that have a child or an adult member with disabilities: a lifetime, free pass to U.S. national parks!
- Where can I get an Access Pass?You can obtain an Access Pass in person, with proper documentation, from a participating Federal recreation site or office. See Site Locations that issue the Access Pass.
Access Passes may also be obtained via mail order from USGS. Mail-order applicants for the Access Pass must submit a completed application, proof of residency and documentation of permanent disability, and pay the document processing fee of $10 to obtain a pass through the mail. Once the application package is received, the documentation will be verified and a pass, with the pass owner’s name pre-printed on it, will be issued to the applicant. Documentation of permanent disability will also be returned to the applicant.
- What is the Access Pass?A free, lifetime pass – available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States that have been medically determined to have a permanent disability – that provides access to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by five Federal agencies.
See Access Pass Benefits section.
- Who qualifies for the Access Pass?The Access Pass may be issued to U.S. citizens or permanent residents of any age that have been medically determined to have a permanent disability that severely limits one or more major life activities.
A permanent disability is a permanent physical, mental, or sensory impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
- If I am partially disabled do I qualify for the Access Pass?The disability requirements for the Access Pass are not based on percentage of disability. To qualify for the Pass the disability must be permanent and limit one or more major life activities.
- How do I prove I’m permanently disabled?Some examples of acceptable documentation include:
- Statement by a licensed physician;
- Document issued by Federal agency such as the Veteran’s Administration, Social Security Disability Income, or Supplemental Security Income;
- Document issued by a State agency such as a vocational rehabilitation agency.
- Are Golden Access Passports still valid?Golden Age Passports are valid for a lifetime however, if they physically wear out you will need to obtain a replacement Access Pass with proper identification.
- Can my permanently disabled child get an Access Pass?Yes. There is not an age requirement for this pass.
- Where can I use my Access Pass?Please contact a site directly if you have a question about pass acceptance and fees.
The Forest Service, the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation honor the Access Pass at sites where Entrance or Standard Amenity Fees are charged.
- Bureau of Land Management http://www.blm.gov
- Bureau of Reclamation http://www.usbr.gov
- Fish and Wildlife Service http://www.fws.gov
- USDA Forest Service http://www.fs.fed.us
- National Park Service http://www.nps.gov
In addition, the Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Valley Authority may honor the Access Pass for entrance or camping discounts.
- Why is the US Army Corps of Engineers accepting Access Passes but not issuing them?The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) was not included in the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004 (REA), which gave agencies the authority to create the America the Beautiful – the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. Although the Corps will not sell or issue the passes, the Corps will accept the Access Passes or Golden Access Passports as proof of eligibility for disability-related discounts. More information may be found at: http://www.CorpsLakes.us/fees.
Access Pass Use
- Who is admitted with an Access Pass? The Access Pass admits pass owner/s and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas and pass owner + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, where per-person fees are charged. (Children under 16 are always admitted free.)
Note: Photo identification will be requested to verify pass ownership.
- If I have more than four people in my car, how many passes do I need?
- One pass covers the vehicle at sites that charge “per vehicle”.
- At “per person” sites, the applicable fee will be charged for each additional person.
- My family is traveling in two cars; will one Access Pass let all of us into the site?No. Only the vehicle with the pass owner is covered. The second vehicle is subject to an entrance fee, or must have (or buy) a second pass.
- What about motorcycle drivers who have an Access Pass?An Access Pass permits entrance for one motorcycle.
- What if I forgot to bring my Access Pass?You will be required to pay the applicable Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee(s).
- What if my Access Pass is lost, stolen or damaged?
- If lost or stolen, you’ll need to apply for another one.
- If damaged, it can be replaced as long as a portion of the pass is identifiable and you show proper identification.
- How do I show my pass at a site that doesn’t have an entrance station?At Federal recreation sites that don’t have entrance stations you need to display your pass or show proof of pass ownership to compliance officers via one of the two following methods:
A pass can either be displayed on your rearview mirror using a free hangtag or on your dashboard with the signature side showing. Remember, the hangtag itself is only a way to display your Pass, and is not valid for entry unless it holds a valid Pass.
If you own an open-topped vehicle (jeep, motorcycle, etc.) you may obtain a free decal to attach to your vehicle that will serve as proof of payment at sites that don’t have a staffed entrance station.
- Decals are issued on annual basis, even for owners of lifetime Senior/Access passes
- Decals are NOT valid for entry at staffed entrance sites – you MUST show your pass
- Decals must be obtained in person and you must show the following: your Pass, driver’s license and vehicle registration. The name on all three documents must match.
- All sites that issue passes issue free hangtags
- Can I use my Access Pass at state parks or local city/county recreation sites?No. The Access Pass is valid only at participating Federal recreation sites. Visit http://www.recreation.gov for information about Federal recreation sites.
Access Pass Benefits
Please contact a site directly if you have a question about pass acceptance and fees.
- In addition to free entry, does the Access Pass include any discounts at Federal Recreation sites?At many sites the Access Pass provides the pass owner a discount on Expanded Amenity Fees (such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and guided tours).
- What are the discount guidelines?The pass program is managed by five Federal agencies that operate under different regulations and have different fees. Therefore, the discount program for the Access Pass is not handled in the same way on all Federal recreation lands.
In general discounts are honored as follows:
- Individual Campsites: The discount only applies to the fee for the campsite physically occupied by the pass owner, not to any additional campsite(s) occupied by members of the pass owner’s party.
- Campsites with Utility Hookups: If utility fees are charged separately, there is no discount. The discount may apply if the utility fee is combined (seamless) with the campsite fee.
- Group Campsites and Facilities (including, but not limited to, group facilities, picnic areas or pavilions): There is no discount for group campsites and other group facilities that charge a flat fee. If the group campsite has a per person fee rate, only the pass owner receives a discount; others using the site pay the full fee.
- Guided Tours: The pass offers discounts on some guided tours. Only the pass owner receives a discount if one is offered.
- Transportation Systems: (Inquire Locally)
- Concessionaire Fees: (Inquire Locally)
- Special Use Permit Fees: (Inquire Locally)
- Does my Access Pass provide any discounts at Cooperating Association bookstores or gift shops that are located in the Federal Recreation sites?No. The Access Pass does not cover discounts in on-site bookstores or gift stores.