Do You Have Your Access Pass Yet?
What is the Access Pass?
- The National Park Service (includes all National Parks, National Monuments, National Historic Sites and more)
- USDA Forest Service
- Fish and Wildlife Service
- Bureau of Reclamation
- Bureau of Land Management
Who is eligible?
- 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.
I requested a letter from my son’s physician for the application. The letter does not have to be complicated. This was the letter template that I suggested to the physician:
“To the United States Geological Survey office:
My patient, Name, has a medical diagnosis of ______. This a permanent physical/sensory/mental impairment that limits his/her life activities. She/he is therefore eligible for the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Access Pass.
Documentation & Fees
The other documents required for the application are proof of citizenship or permanent residency (I sent in a copy of my son’s birth certificate, since he is a US citizen) and a one page application signed by the applicant. Download the application form here .
There is no application fee if you apply in person at a federal recreation site, but there is a $10 handling fee if you apply by mail order. My son applied via mail order, and his application was lost after the check was processed. I complained and re-submitted his application without paying the fee again. For this reason, I strongly recommend keeping copies of all documentation until you receive the Access Pass. Here is an overview and FAQ about the Access Pass.
Now that my son has free admission to the National Parks system for the rest of his life, we are planning some fun road trips. But while he’s still young, we are exploring parks close to home and enjoying the beauty and diversity of the USA.