Military Benefits For National Parks

America The Beautiful: The Annual Pass

Who would have thought something in the military was easy? The military has a bunch of benefits that I wasn’t aware of because 1) Nobody told me about them and 2) I didn’t know the right questions to ask. I wondered about military deals on National Parks when I was stationed back in Virginia a few years ago. I wanted to go on a Park road trip but then I kind of forgot about it after a while and never looked into it. Last weekend I went on my Yosemite trip with one of my friends and I had forgotten all about the FREE annual pass for military until I got up to the entrance gate. I wondered if I could just get in with the show of an ID? I pulled up to the front gate and asked the ranger…”Hi…I have no idea if this is how you do it but I have my military ID.” She was full of energy and really sweet she said “all I need to do is make sure its valid” (looks at my ID) rummages through the desk and pulls out an annual pass card. She asked me to sign it and then gave me a park map and the pass…I looked at her dumbfounded. “That’s it?” I asked her. “That’s all there is to it. Its good for one year.” she said. I told her “Thank you! I never imagined it would be that easy!” She smiled and waved me through. I was shocked! I couldn’t believe I actually was able to do something like that. I forgot that benefit was even a thing! Active duty and their dependents, Active Reservists and their dependents and Disabled Veterans all rate this free annual pass. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and to be curious. You’ll never know what you can do until you think about it and answer your question.

Where To Find The Information

There are a few easy sites to find more info and more detail about these passes. I had my friend look on Military.com for a quick minute before I got to the front gate.

What about Veterans you may ask? Unfortunately as a Veteran we do not qualify for the pass unless we are Disabled with a VA rating. However, on Veterans day park entrance fees will be waived.

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