FAQ Index

General Information

< America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series



  1. What is the America the Beautiful - the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass or "Interagency" Pass Program?

    A suite of annual and lifetime passes that provides U.S. citizens and visitors an affordable and convenient way to access Federal recreation lands. Up to 100% of the Pass program's proceeds are used to improve and enhance visitor recreation services.

  2. What passes and materials are included in the program?
    • Annual Pass ($80.00 - anyone 16 years and older can purchase)
    • Senior Pass ($10.00 - valid for the lifetime of the pass owner; must be 62+ older, U.S. citizen, and a permanent resident)
    • Access Pass (Free for lifetime with documentation of permanent disability, U.S. citizens and permanent residents)
    • Volunteer Pass (earned with 500+ hours of volunteer service in public lands)
    • Hangtags (used as way to display passes at areas without entrance booth staff)
    • Annual Decals (for open-top vehicles to display at areas without entrance booth staff).
  3. What are the passes good for?

    The passes provide entrance or access to more than 2,000 Federal recreation sites.

    The Senior and Access Passes may also provide the pass owner a discount on some Expanded Amenity Fees such as camping. (Please contact a site directly if you have a question about pass acceptance and fees).

  4. Where can I use my pass?

    The passes are valid at more than 2,000 Federal recreation sites where Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee(s) are charged by the following agencies:

  5. Where can I get a pass?
    • Passes may be obtained at hundreds of locations throughout the country, including many Federal sites where they are accepted. See Site Locations that issue the Interagency Passes. PLEASE be sure to call a site and verify they are still issuing the passes BEFORE you make a special trip to obtain a pass.
    • Annual Passes may also be obtained through Recreation.gov (877-444-6777 or online
    • Senior and Access Passes may also be obtained via mail order from USGS. Mail-order applicants for the Senior Pass must submit a completed application, proof of residency and age, the $20.00 fee ($10.00 for the Senior Pass, and an additional document processing fee of $10) to obtain a pass through the mail.

      Mail-order applicants for the Access Pass must submit a completed application, proof of residency and documentation of permanent disability, and pay the document processing fee of $10 to obtain a pass through the mail.

      Once the application package is received, whether for Senior or Access Pass, the documentation will be verified and a pass, with the pass owner's name pre-printed on it, will be issued to the applicant.
  6. Why aren't passes issued or accepted at all Federal recreation sites?
    • Not all Federal recreation sites charge entrance fees.
    • Not all Federal recreation agencies participate in the program. For example, the Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Valley Authority sites do not issue the passes, yet they might honor the Senior and Access Passes for camping discounts. (Inquire locally).
    • Some facilities and activities on Federal recreation lands are managed by private concessionaires. The concessionaires charge for their services as any private company does.

  7. 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:

    HANGTAGS
    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.

    DECALS
    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.

    • Decals are issued on annual basis, even for owners of lifetime Senior/Access passes
    • Decals are NOT valid for entry at staffed entrance sites - you MUST show your pass
    • Decals must be obtained in person and you must show the following: your Pass, driver's license and vehicle registration. The name on all three documents must match.
    • All sites that issue passes issue free hangtags
  8. Can I use a credit card to buy a pass at a Federal recreation site?

    Most sites now accept credit cards, but it is a good idea to have cash with you as backup.

  9. How can I tell the difference between a Standard Amenity, Expanded Amenity, Special Use Permit, or a Concessionaire (Concessioner) Fee?

    Since the pass program is managed by five Federal agencies that operate under different regulations and charge different types of fees, it can be confusing to sort out fees, terminology, and to distinguish between a "Federally-managed facility/activity" versus a "concession-managed facility/activity".

    Please see the Definitions section for further details, but more importantly, please contact a site directly if you have a question about pass acceptance and fees.