In case you didn't know, here's how disabled veterans can get a National Park Service Lifetime Access Pass completely free.
There are more than 300 million people who visit and enjoy our country's National Parks, and gaining a Lifetime Pass is on the wish lists of outdoorsmen and women in every corner. And thanks to the VA's VAntage Point blog, we were tipped off to a pretty sweet deal for a subgroup that's deserving of having a wish like that granted.
In a sign of respect and a way to say thanks, the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Parks Service has granted entry into 400+ National Parks and over 2,000 recreation areas for those who have served and sacrificed for their country.
The Access Pass program makes them available for any U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States that have been medically determined to have a permanent disability
Veterans who have a Veteran's Administration disability rating (10 percent or higher) can get the free lifetime Access Pass, and it isn't even that difficult to obtain. It allows for the Pass owner and anyone inside their vehicle (for vehicle fee areas) or in their group (up to three other adults for per-person entrance fees) to get in without charges.
There are also discounts on expanded amenity fees like camping, swimming, boat launching, and guided tours for Access Pass holders.
Here's how to apply:
In person at any participating federal recreation site. Present your photo identification (Drivers license, State ID, or Passport) and documentation proving a permanent disability (VA awards letter, VA ID with service connected annotation, VA summary of benefits, or receipt of Social Security disability income). The pass will be given to you then and there.
By mail with a completed Access Pass application form, proof of residency, and one of the following: a VA disability award letter, a VA summary of benefits, or proof of SSDI income. Send the acceptable documentation and a $10 processing fee to the United States Geological Survey (for full address and details, visit the link above). The pass will show up in the mail 10-12 weeks after receipt.
After that, you'll just need to show a photo ID with the Access Pass, and you're set to visit Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the Everglades, or any number of other, beautiful outdoor places. There are millions of acres of Bureau of Land Management or Bureau of Reclamation lands, plus U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and USDA Forest Service lands to experience the greatness of our country's historic and wild places. Our federal recreational lands really give meaning to "America the Beautiful."