Free Annual Pass to National Parks for Active Duty Military and Their Dependents | Veteran Owned Business Armed Forces Day 2012 PSA

This is a Veteran Owned Business Armed Forces Day 2012 Public Service Announcement:


America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands FREE Military Annual Pass

Beginning on Armed Forces Day (May 19th, 2012) active duty military members and their dependents will be able to obtain the military version of America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass free of charge. The pass will be accepted at National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps sites that charge fees.  This military annual pass will offer free entrance to all 397 national parks.

Visit Your Military Veterans Discounts for a full list of military and veterans discounts

The following information outlines the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Military Annual Pass program:

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Overview of the Annual Pass for Active Duty Military and Their Dependents:

  • Free
  • Available to active duty military personnel and dependents with proper identification (CAC Card or DD Form 1173)
  • Obtained in person at Federal recreation sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees.
  • Covers entrance to Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service sites that charge Entrance Fees, and Standard Amenity Fees at Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation sites.
  • Admits the pass owners and any accompanying passengers in a private non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas, or the pass owner and up to additional 3 adults at sites that charge per person.
  • Non-transferable

FREE Military Annual Pass Use FAQs:

What are the benefits for the Annual Pass – Military? Free admission at sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees for one full year from the month obtained (through last day of that month).

  • Allows pass owner and accompanying passengers in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle to enter federally operated recreation sites across the country.
  • Covers the pass owner and three (3) accompanying adults age 16 and older at sites where per person entrance fees are charged. No entry fee charged for children 15 and under.The pass does not cover or provide a discount on expanded amenity fees such as camping, boat launch or interpretive fees.

Who qualifies for the Annual Pass – Military? Active military personnel and their dependents qualify for this benefit. Military members must present their Common Access Card (CAC) and dependents must present a Dependent ID Card (Form 1173) when requesting their pass.

Are there any benefits for veterans? There is not a pass specifically for veterans; however, many veterans qualify for one of the other discount passes offered as part of our pass program.If you are 62 or older you qualify for a Senior Pass. You can buy a Senior Pass in person from a participating Federal recreation site or office or by mail.If you have a permanent disability you may qualify for an Access Pass. This is a free lifetime pass that you may obtain in person from a participating Federal recreation site or office or by mail.

Where can I use my 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 Annual Pass at sites where Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee(s) are charged.

How do I get my pass?You can receive your pass by presenting your military ID at most Federal lands that charge an entrance fee. A list of sites that sell pass is available. Sites that issue the Annual Pass will generally also issue the free military version as well. Please contact the Federal Land you will be visiting in advance to ensure that they have the pass available.

  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • Fish and Wildlife Service
  • USDA Forest Service
  • National Park Service
  • US Army Corps of Engineers will not be issuing this pass, however they may honor it for free access at some sites. For more information contact your local US Army Corps of Engineers.

Can I loan my pass to a friend to use? No. The pass owner must be present when the pass is used and it is not transferable.

Who can sign the Pass?
One pass covers everyone in a non-commercial vehicle at sites that charge “per vehicle.”The Pass has two signature lines. The pass is not valid until it is signed, so the active military member or dependent must sign the pass with first and last name when the pass is issued. The second signature line is optional, but may only be signed by another active military member or dependent. One of the signers must be present when using the pass.

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 vehicles; will one 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 purchase) a second pass.

What about motorcycle drivers who obtain this Pass? The pass permits entrance for the two individuals that sign the Pass on two separate motorcycles. Identification must match the signatures of the pass owner(s). If only one pass owner is present the pass will admit only one motorcycle.

I ride my bicycle into a Federal recreation site that charges an entry fee. Can my friends come in with me with my pass?
Yes, generally the pass owner and up to 3 other bicyclists can enter for free. Be sure to check with the recreation site you plan to visit before leaving because there can be differences in the way a pass is honored at different sites.

What is NOT covered by the Pass?
The Pass does not cover Expanded Amenity fees such as camping, boat launching, parking, special tours, special permits or ferries.Also, some facilities and activities on Federal recreation lands (including those mentioned above) are managed by private concessionaires. The concessionaires charge for their services as any private company does and the Pass is not valid for their services.

Can lost or stolen passes be replaced? Is there a way that the serial numbers can be tracked?
No. Due to privacy and logistical considerations, passes cannot be replaced if lost or stolen; a new Pass may be obtained.

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.

If I forget to bring my pass to a site and pay the entrance or use fee, can I mail in the receipt and a photocopy of my pass and get a refund? Refunds are not issued.

If I purchased an $80 Annual Pass earlier in the year can I return the pass and get a refund? Refunds will not be issued for passes purchased before the free passes became available.

Click here to view a list of national parks by state.

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