Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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People With Disabilities Are Entitled to a Free Access Pass to National Parks

The National Parks Service (NPS) has several pass programs that grant access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across the nation,  including National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges and many National Forest and other federal recreation lands. A pass may cover entrance, standard amenity fees and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle and may also offer other discounts.

Access Pass

The Access Pass is a FREE, lifetime pass available to United States citizens or permanent residents, regardless of age, that have a permanent disability. The pass may be obtained two ways: (1) at a federal recreation site where entrance or standard amenity fees are charged; or (2) through the mail.

To obtain a pass, you must have photo identification to verify that you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, which could include:

1. A U.S. state or territory issued driver’s license, identification, or birth certificate

2. A U.S. passport or passport card

3. A permanent resident card (green card)

You must also provide documentation that you have a permanent disability, which could include:

1. A statement signed by a licensed physician attesting that you have a permanent physical, mental, or sensory impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, and stating the nature of the impairment; or

2. 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); or

3. A document issued by a state agency, such as a vocational rehabilitation agency, which attests that you have been medically determined to be eligible to receive vocational rehabilitation agency benefits or services as a result of medically determined blindness or permanent disability. Showing a state motor vehicle department disability sticker, license plate or hang tag is not acceptable documentation.

For complete information, including the access pass application, click here.

Other Passes

NPS offers a standard annual pass for $80 per year. Annual passes are FREE for active military. There are two senior pass options: $80 Lifetime Senior Pass or $20 Annual Senior Pass.


Service dogs are legally permitted anywhere that visitors can go. However, NPS notes that only dogs are classified as service animals, and that emotional support or comfort animals are not considered service animals by NPS. For more information about service dogs in parks, click here.

For more information about accessibility at national parks, click here.

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