Access Pass is a pass issued by the United States
federal government at no cost to U.S. citizens or permanent residents
who have been medically determined to have a permanent disability. The
pass grants the holder free lifetime access to more than 2,000
recreation sites managed by five federal agencies: the Forest Service,
the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau
of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation. A "permanent
disability" 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."
At per-vehicle fee areas, the pass entitles the holder and all
passengers in a non-commercial vehicle to admission. At per-person
fee areas, the pass entitles the holder and up to three adults to
admission. (Children under 16 are always admitted free.) The
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not sell or issue the pass, but does
accept the pass as proof of eligibility for discounts related to
At some sites, the
Access Pass provides a discount on Expanded Amenity
Fees, such as campsite and guided tour fees.
To obtain a pass, eligible persons must show documentation of
permanent disability. Documents issued by federal agencies - such
as a VA award letter, VA summary of benefits, or SSDI notice of award
- are accepted. Document issued by a state agencies such as
vocational rehabilitation agencies are also accepted. However,
disabled parking permits are not accepted. Eligible persons of any
age may obtain the pass.
The pass is not valid for admission to state parks, but most U.S.
states have similar programs providing free or discounted admission to
all their state parks for disabled persons.
The pass was first authorized in the Federal Lands Recreation
Enhancement Act of 2004, which is Division J, Title VIII of the
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, Public Law 108-447, 118 Stat.
2809, an omnibus appropriations act. The part creating the pass
is Section 805(b)(2) of the Act:
The Secretary shall make the National Parks and Federal Recreational
Lands Pass available, without charge, to any United States citizen or
person domiciled in the United States who has been medically
determined to be permanently disabled for purposes of section
7(20)(B)(i) of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C.
705(20)(B)(i)), if the citizen or person provides adequate proof of
the disability and such citizenship or residency. The National Parks
and Federal Recreational Lands Pass made available under this
subsection shall be valid for the lifetime of the passholder.
This language is codified in 16 U.S.C. § 6804(b)(2). Other parts
of Section 805 reorganized the pass program for federal recreation
areas. New passes were first issued in January 2007.
Golden Age Passport
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Overview of the
Access Pass Pass Use.
Access Pass Programs in State Parks, Center for Disability Studies,
University of Delaware.
^ a b c Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, Public Law 108-447, 118
Stat. 2809 (full text).
^ Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service - Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (REA)
^ 16 U.S.C. § 6804(b)(2)
^ Get a Pass, United States Departmen