The National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 authorized a new pass program for veterans to enjoy the National Parks Service. Visiting the National Parks is a wonderfully affordable way to explore and learn about the United States and its development as a country over the last several hundred years. There are free passes for residents with disabilities, the military, 4th graders, and veterans, and affordable passes available through the National Parks.
Veterans and Gold Star Families can now obtain a military lifetime pass for free! This pass can be obtained by going to a National Park in person or through the USGS website with processing and shipping charges applied. Valid ID is required to include a veteran ID card, veteran health identification card, Department of Defense ID/CAC card, or a veteran designation on a state-issued driver’s license or identification card. Gold Star families are also eligible for the military lifetime pass.
Currently, active-duty military and their families are offered a free military annual pass. This applies to current U.S. military members in all the services, including Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force. It also applies to their dependents. A photo ID is required. This pass can be obtained by going to a National Park in person. The military annual pass can be ordered online, but does require shipping and handling charges. The active-duty military pass will remain an annual pass.
With the free pass, veterans and their families have access to 2,000 parks and public sites to explore. Getting the annual pass is easy, and you do not have to have a previous expired pass. Go to a National Parks site with available passes and show military identification, and a military annual pass will be provided if they have them. In addition, if no pass cards are available, military members and their family members will be allowed to enter for free.
There may be fees for camping or fishing, depending on the park location and the site type, so make sure to research the specific National Park site you plan to attend prior to going.
Now get out and explore this season. For Veterans and Gold Star Families, get your lifetime pass and begin exploring without having to get a pass each new year.