Now that we are well into summer I thought I would highlight an item that people with disabilities may obtain to enjoy the national parks for free. This item is called an “Access Pass.” This is a lifetime pass that is available to permanent residents or U.S. Citizens of the United States who have been medically determined to have a permanent disability.
A permanent disability (for the purpose of obtaining this pass) is a permanent physical, mental, or sensory impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
Proving permanent disability for an Access Pass seems to be easier than proving it to obtain Social Security, understandably. In order to prove disability, you may submit:
- A 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.
An Access Pass allows the holder and guests (those accompanying the holder in one vehicle, up to an additional three people), free entrance into the national park as well as discounts on expanded amenity fees such as swimming, boat launching, and guided tours.
There is a $10.00 fee to obtain the Access Pass but it is good for life.
Even with our government’s current budget problems, it is nice to know that people with disabilities are given the opportunity to enjoy our parks for free. For more information about the Access Pass, go to the website for the National Parks and Federal Recreation Land Pass.