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Free Federal Parks and Recreation Access Pass for Persons with Disabilities

  • Synopsis: Published: 2009-07-15 (Revised/Updated 2016-11-05) - Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Disabled World at www.disabled-world.com.
Federal Parks And Recreation Access Pass

Access Pass at no cost to U.S.citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities. A ticket to more than 2000 Federal Recreation sites, each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. A pass covers entrance and standard amenity fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to 4 adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 and under are admitted free. Passes also include an Annual Pass, Senior Pass, Access Pass, and a Volunteer Pass.

Main Document

Quote: "The Access Pass is a lifetime pass to enter National Parks at no charge as you travel around the U.S."

A pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation.

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.

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).

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 a State agency such as a vocational rehabilitation agency;
  • Document issued by Federal agency such as the Veteran's Administration, Social Security Disability Income, or Supplemental Security Income.

Where can I use my Access Pass?

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.

In addition, the Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Valley Authority may honor the Access Pass for entrance or camping discounts.

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 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.

Access Pass applications are processed and shipped within 3-5 business days from the day they arrive at USGS. Transit time varies, and is dependent upon the service selected:

  • USPS - 5-10 business days
  • FedEx Ground - 3-5 business days
  • FedEx 2nd day - 2 business days
  • FedEx Overnight - 1 business day

For further information and application form please visit https://store.usgs.gov/pass/access.html

Related Information:

  1. Access Guide to National Parks in Utah - C&C Creative Concepts
  2. WheelLife: Accessible US Travel Guidebook for Wheelchair Users - Wheel:Life
  3. Accessible Journeys: Accessible Vacations for People with Disabilities - Thomas C. Weiss


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