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Active duty military and families can get free annual passes to national parks

Starting this  Saturday May 19th, 2012, all active-duty military personnel and their dependents can get a free annual pass to visit any of the country’s more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands, the Interior Department announced today.

Saturday is Armed Forces Day. The passes are part of the Joining Forces initiative led by first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, to support military families .

The pass is available to activated members of the National Guard and Reserves, but not veterans.

The passes can be obtained at any national park or wildlife refuge that charges an entrance fee by showing military identification. Family members can obtain their own pass if the service member is deployed or traveling separately.

Service men and women from all five branches of the military – the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, including the Reserves and National Guard – are eligible just by showing a current, valid military identification card.  The pass is also available for the family members of active duty military, which is critical because we know that military spouses and children make sacrifices for our country every day too.

FAQ about the pass program


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 LIFETIME Senior Pass for $10

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.


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