Individuals With Down Syndrome Can Get a Free Pass to National Parks

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:

concrete road under calm body of water above clear sky at daytime
Hoover Dam

How Do I Get The Pass?

By Mail

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:

To Whom It May Concern:
_____ is a patient whom I have had the pleasure of taking care of as her pediatrician. She has a diagnosis of Down Syndrome which is a lifelong disability.
Please feel free to contact us if there are any other questions or concerns.
Sincerely,
______
I mailed it in. They say processing time can take up to twelve weeks. It only took about three when I did it.

In Person

You can bring the supporting documentation to a site listed here and avoid the processing fee.
We have no specific plans yet to go anywhere but when we do we’ll be all set!
IMG_4820
Gigi in Niagara Falls, NY
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