Yellowstone National Park
Military / Gold Star Family Pass Information
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|Military Pass Overview||Military Pass Use||Gold Star Family Pass|
Available to US military members and their dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, as well as most members of the US Reserves and National Guard. Proper military ID is required (CAC Card or DoD Form 1173).
Obtained in person at Federal recreation sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees.
Covers entrance to Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service sites that charge Entrance Fees, and Standard Amenity Fees at Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation sites.
Admits the pass owners and any accompanying passengers in a private non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas, or the pass owner and up to additional 3 adults at sites that charge per person.
1. What are the benefits for the Annual Pass - Military?
Free admission at sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees for one full year from the month obtained (through last day of that month).
Allows pass owner and accompanying passengers in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle to enter federally operated recreation sites across the country.
Covers the pass owner and three (3) accompanying adults age 16 and older at sites where per person entrance fees are charged. No entry fee charged for children 15 and under.
The pass Does Not cover or provide a discount on expanded amenity fees such as camping, boat launch or interpretive fees.
2. Who qualifies for the Annual Pass - Military?
US military members and their dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, as well as most members of the US Reserves and National Guard. Proper military ID is required (CAC Card or DoD Form 1173).
3. Can dependents of National Guard and the Reserve members acquire a pass?
Dependents of deployed military members with DoD Form 1173 may obtain a pass. If the military member has not been deployed, the dependent may be the second signer on their sponsor's pass.
4. Are there any benefits for veterans?
There is not a pass specifically for veterans; however, many veterans qualify for one of the other discount passes offered as part of our pass program.
If you are 62 or older you qualify for a Senior Pass. You can buy a Senior Pass in person from a participating Federal recreation site or office or by mail.
If you have a permanent disability you may qualify for an Access Pass. This is a free lifetime pass that you may obtain in person from a participating Federal recreation site or office or by mail.
5. Where can I use my pass?
Please contact a site directly if you have a question about pass acceptance and fees. The Forest Service, the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation honor the Annual Pass at sites where Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee(s) are charged:.
6. How do I get my pass?
You can receive your pass by presenting your US military ID at most Federal lands that charge an entrance fee. A list of sites that sell pass is available (this is an Adobe pdf file). Sites that issue the Annual Pass will generally also issue the free US military version as well. Please contact the Federal Land you will be visiting in advance to ensure that they have the pass available.
7. Can I loan my pass to a friend to use?
No. The pass owner must be present when the pass is used and it is not transferrable.
8. Who can sign the Pass?
One pass covers everyone in a non-commercial vehicle at sites that charge "per vehicle."
The Pass has two signature lines. The pass is not valid until it is signed, so the US military member or dependent must sign the pass with first and last name when the pass is issued. The second signature line is optional, but may only be signed by another US military member or dependent. One of the signers must be present when using the pass.
9. If I have more than four people in my car, how many passes do I need?
One pass covers the vehicle at sites that charge "per vehicle." At "per person" sites, the applicable fee will be charged for each additional person.
10. My family is traveling in two vehicles; will one pass let all of us into the site?
No. Only the vehicle with the pass owner is covered. The second vehicle is subject to an entrance fee, or must have (or purchase) a second pass.
11. What about motorcycle drivers who obtain this Pass?
The pass permits entrance for the two individuals that sign the Pass on two separate motorcycles. Identification must match the signatures of the pass owner(s). If only one pass owner is present the pass will admit only one motorcycle.
12. I ride my bicycle into a Federal recreation site that charges an entry fee. Can my friends come in with me with my pass?
Yes, generally the pass owner and up to 3 other bicyclists can enter for free. Be sure to check with the recreation site you plan to visit before leaving because there can be differences in the way a pass is honored at different sites.
13. What is NOT covered by the Pass?
The Pass does not cover Expanded Amenity fees such as camping, boat launching, parking, special tours, special permits or ferries.
Also, some facilities and activities on Federal recreation lands (including those mentioned above) are managed by private concessionaires. The concessionaires charge for their services as any private company does and the Pass is not valid for their services.
14. Can lost or stolen passes be replaced? Is there a way that the serial numbers can be tracked?
No. Due to privacy and logistical considerations, passes cannot be replaced if lost or stolen; a new Pass may be obtained.
15. How do I show my pass at a site that doesn't have an entrance station?
At Federal recreation sites that don't have entrance stations you need to display your pass or show proof of pass ownership to compliance officers via one of the two following methods:
A pass can either be displayed on your rearview mirror using a free hangtag or on your dashboard with the signature side showing. Remember, the hangtag itself is only a way to display your Pass, and is not valid for entry unless it holds a valid Pass.
If you own an open-topped vehicle (jeep, motorcycle, etc.) you may obtain a free decal to attach to your vehicle that will serve as proof of payment at sites that don't have a staffed entrance station.
16. If I forget to bring my pass to a site and pay the entrance or use fee, can I mail in the receipt and a photocopy of my pass and get a refund?
Refunds are not issued.
17. If I purchased an $80 Annual Pass earlier in the year can I return the pass and get a refund?
Refunds will not be issued for passes purchased before the free passes became available.
The National Park Service in partnership with Operation Live Well would like to thank military personnel and their families for their service and invite them to enjoy their national parks.
Since Veterans Day 2020, Gold Star Families and US military veterans are eligible to receive free access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests. The free access program is a way to thank America’s veterans and Gold Star Families for their support of our country and to encourage them to explore recreational opportunities on their public lands and waters.
What is the Military Veterans and Gold Star Family Free Access Program?
The Interagency Annual Military Pass has been expanded to include both veterans and Gold Star Families. On November 11, 2020, agencies began issuing Interagency Military Passes to veterans and Gold Star Families upon request and with proof of eligibility as described below.
The entrance fee waiver does not cover expanded amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, transportation, special recreation permits, reservation fees or special tours.
For more information about the Interagency Military Pass Program, please visit USGS Pass Store - Military Pass Frequently Asked Questions.
Who is eligible to gain free access as a member of a Gold Star Family?
Gold Star Families are next of kin of a member of the US Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a “qualifying situation,” such as a war, an international terrorist attack, or a military operation outside of the United States while serving with the US Armed Forces. Eligibility requirements are in section 3.2 of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36.
Does the waiver include others traveling with the veteran or Gold Star Family member?
Free access is for the veteran or the holder of the Gold Star Family voucher as well as travelling companions who are occupants of a single, private non-commercial vehicle OR the veteran or voucher-holder and three persons (16 and older) where per person fees are charged.
What agencies are participating in the free access program?
The program waives entrance or standard amenity fees for the following agencies:
The voucher is non-transferrable and void if altered.
How does a Gold Star Family gain free access to a national park?
Before visiting a national park site, Gold Star Family members must download and print a voucher to present to park staff, exchange for an annual Interagency Military Pass, or place on the vehicle dashboard at unstaffed sites (representations of the voucher are prohibited; the physical voucher or pass must be present). By downloading and signing the voucher, Gold Star Family members are self-certifying that they meet the required criteria as identified in sections 3.2 and 3.3 of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36.
Following is the self-certification language on the voucher:
I hereby affirm that I am an eligible next of kin (NOK) of a member of the United States Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a qualifying situation, such as war, an international terrorist attack or a military operation outside of the United States while serving in the United States Armed Forces, as identified in sections 3.2 (Qualifying Situation) and 3.3 (Eligible NOK) of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36.
Download the Gold Star Family Voucher.
How long will free access be available?
Free access for veterans and Gold Star Families will continue indefinitely, unless the Secretarial Order and/or FLREA are amended, superseded, or revoked/expired. The Gold Star Voucher is valid for one calendar year. New vouchers for successive years can be obtained by downloading a new voucher and completing the self-certification (see information in the question above). Annual Interagency Military passes are valid for one year from the month of issuance.
Are there any costs to participate?
No. The voucher covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day use fees) at national forests and grasslands and at lands managed by the National Park Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and US Army Corps of Engineers.
Fees still apply for expanded amenities such as camping, tours and special recreation permits. Reservation fees and fees for organized groups or concession-operated facilities or activities may not be covered by the voucher or Interagency Pass.
What is covered by the free access program?
The voucher covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day use fees) at national forests and grasslands and on lands managed by the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and US Army Corps of Engineers.
What is not covered by the free access program?
The program does not cover expanded amenity fees such as camping, tours or special recreation permits; reservation fees and fees for organized groups or concession-operated facilities or activities may not be included.
Can current members of the military receive free entrance to national parks?
Current members of the US Armed Forces and their dependents can enter national parks for free with an annual Interagency Military Pass through the America the Beautiful – the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands (Interagency) Pass Program. There are a total of seven Interagency Passes available. For more information and to obtain these passes, please visit the USGS Store.
Are passes available for disabled veterans or other people with disabilities?
Yes. The Interagency Access Pass is a lifetime pass that is free for any US citizen or permanent resident, including a veteran or Gold Star Family member, who has a permanent disability. An Access Pass may also provide discounts for expanded amenities like camping, guided tours etc. For more information visit USGS Store - Access Pass.
Is there a “Lifetime Pass” for Veterans and Gold Star Families?
No. Only an act of Congress to amend the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) can establish a new interagency lifetime pass. The January 2, 2021 FLREA amendment allows for an annual pass for Gold Star Family members, which is being encompassed under the annual Interagency Military Pass. The only authorized lifetime passes are the Interagency Access Pass (free) for persons with permanent disabilities and the Interagency Senior Lifetime Pass ($80) for persons age 62 or older. These lifetime passes also grant up to 50% discounts for expanded amenities at many federal recreation sites.
What if I have a current Interagency Military Pass or other type of Interagency Pass?
If you have a Military Pass, Access Pass, or one of the other Interagency Passes, you can simply use that pass for free access.
If you have recently purchased an Interagency Annual or Senior Pass, unfortunately no refunds are permitted.
Veterans and Gold Star Family free access vouchers and Interagency Passes are non-transferable.
Information provided by the NPS USGS
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