Did you know that Americans with disabilities can get a free, lifetime America the Beautiful Access Pass? This pass is available to U.S. Citizens who have been medically determined to have a permanent disability and it will provide them, and often the accompanying people in the same vehicle, free access to federally operated recreation sites across the country. It can also get the pass owner discounts to camping, swimming, guided tours and other amenities at the recreation sites so if you like to travel it may be worth looking into. You can get it for free by going to a site in person and applying. Or it costs $10 to process if you do this my mail. Ours came in the mail the other day. It took about three weeks after I initially sent the forms in.
Where Can I Use This Pass?
I applied for this pass, got it, but didn’t really know where to use it. The website doesn’t give a specific list; you have to go digging. So I did some investigating. The organizations listed below are associated with the recreation sites you can visit with the pass:
- Bureau of Land Management (preserved sites such as dinosaur fossil sites, historic hiking areas, wild animal ranges) http://www.blm.gov
- Bureau of Reclamation (National Recreation Areas such as Lake Mead, Bighorn Canyon, and Flaming Gorge) http://www.usbr.gov
- Fish and Wildlife Service (refuges) http://www.fws.gov
- USDA Forest Service (national forests and grasslands) http://www.fs.fed.us
- National Park Service (national parks such as Death Valley in CA to Acadia in ME) http://www.nps.gov
- US Corps of Engineers http://www.usace.army.mil
How Do I Get The Pass?
The website for the access pass is https://store.usgs.gov/access-pass .
I submitted a paper application by downloading it from here and filling it out by hand. It wasn’t difficult but I needed some supporting documentation:
- A letter from Gigi’s pediatrician stating that she has a lifetime disability
- A photocopy of my driver’s license (passport or state-issued ID also works)
Here is what the letter from our pediatrician stated: