Free National Park Annual Pass for Active Duty Military Personnel and Their Dependents

Photo of National Park Service sign

Photo of National Park Service sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


If you are Active Duty military, you and your dependents are eligible for a free annual NPS pass. 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. The free pass 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.

The national park pass is non-transferable.


What Are The Benefits For The Free Military Annual Pass? Military personnel will receive 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). The NPS pass allows the military pass owner and accompanying passengers in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle to enter federally operated recreation sites across the US. The pass 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. Note: 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 Military Annual Pass? Active military personnel and their dependents qualify for the free military 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 Other Military Personnel Like Veterans? There is not a pass specifically for veterans; however, many veterans qualify for one of the other discount passes offered as part of the NPS pass program.

Any Other Ways To Obtain An Annual National Parks Service Pass At A Discount? 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 The NPS Pass Be Used?  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.

Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Reclamation
Fish and Wildlife Service
USDA Forest Service
National Park Service

How To Obtain The Free Miliary Parks Pass. Qualifying military personnel can obtain their free pass by presenting military ID at most Federal lands that charge an entrance fee. Sites that issue the Annual Pass will generally also issue the free military version as well.

Is The Military Pass Transferable? No. The pass owner must be present when the pass is used and it is not transferrable.

Who Has To Sign The NPS Parks Pass? 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.

Additional FAQ’s:

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.

Only the vehicle with the pass owner is covered if there is a second vehicle, it is subject to an entrance fee, or must have (or purchase) a second pass.

Motorcycle drivers are allowed 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.

For bicycle riders the pass owner and up to 3 other bicyclists can enter for free.

The Pass does not cover Expanded Amenity fees such as camping, boat launching, parking, special tours, special permits or ferries.

Due to privacy and logistical considerations, passes cannot be replaced if lost or stolen; a new Pass may be obtained.

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:

Hangtags: 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.

Decals: 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.

For more information see the NPS page.

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