Active-duty military personnel and their dependents can receive an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass for FREE (an $80 value). The pass grants them access to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands.
This is a great deal if you plan to go a National Park or other public land this year. The pass can be used at participating federal recreation sites, and each passholder can get free entrance for themselves and up to three other adults, or a carload if the site charges admission per vehicle rather than per person.
There are some exclusions to be aware of; for example, the pass does not cover “expanded amenity” fees like those that may be charged for camping, boat launching, parking, special tours, permits, or ferries. The pass is also not accepted at some National Parks that are operated by private companies.
Military personnel or their dependents can pick up the FREE pass at select national park or wild refuge entrances by showing their military ID. In Wichita, you can pick up your annual National Parks Pass at the Great Plains Nature Center.
You can also order your pass online at the USGS Store, but you’ll pay a $10 processing fee.
In partnership with many U.S. government agencies, the program is part of the Joining Forces initiative’s effort to thank service members and their families for their sacrifices.
Unfortunately, the program does not apply to military veterans or retirees. (Update 1/4/2022: There’s been a change since we first wrote this. Veterans and Gold Star Families now also qualify for free entrance.) Find out if you qualify and get more details about the Annual America the Beautiful Military Pass here.
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