Friday, January 29, 2021

Free pass for military veterans at national parks, forests and more!


Military veterans have earned a free pass to enjoy all of the nation’s federally operated recreation sites including those run by the National Parks and U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Veterans can pick up a free, annual “America the Beautiful” pass at most locations by presenting an ID showing veteran status such as a state driver’s license or the Veterans Administration’s official veteran identification card. Veteran healthcare or Department of Defense ID cards will work too.

The pass allows the holder and guests in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle free entrance to federally operated recreation sites across the country.

The pass is good for the owner and three adults age 16 and older at sites where per person entrance fees are charged. No entry fees are charged for children 15 and under.

The pass is good for a year from the last day of the month it was it is issued. The free pass went into effect on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 2020.The pass typically costs $80 but the savings it can produce far outweigh that when considering entrances fees at sites in New Mexico.

For instance Bandelier National Monument charges $25 a carload while Carlsbad Caverns National Park charges $15 per person.

Veteran anglers armed with their free pass would no longer need to pay day-use fees to fish along the Rio Grande within the Wild Rivers Recreation Area or at places like Santa Cruz Dam. Veteran boaters also would gain free entrance to such sites such as Cochiti, Abiquiu and Conchas Lakes.  

Veterans can obtain an official VA Veterans ID card by applying online and submitted a copy of their DD Form 214, drivers’ license and a photo. Apply at

The VA card can be used to obtain veteran’s discounts at stores like Lowes while those veterans who apply for and obtain confirmation of their veteran’s status through the website can qualify for discounts such as 25-percent websites like Carhartt. Visit to apply.

Veteran anglers in New Mexico also enjoy a 50-percent discount on their annual state issued fishing license, motor vehicle registrations and property taxes. For more information visit

Links to federally operated outdoor recreation sites in New Mexico:

Bureau of Land Management

U.S. Forest Service:

National Park Service:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers







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