News Release

New Lifetime Pass Available for Military Veterans and Gold Star Families to Access Public Lands

Photo of the new Lifetime Military Pass

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News Release Date: November 10, 2022

Contact: Hugh Hawthorne, 410-629-6080

BERLIN, MD – On Veterans Day, November 11, 2022, veterans of the U.S. Armed Services and Gold Star Families can obtain a free lifetime pass to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites spread out across more than 400 million acres of public lands, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests.   


“We have a sacred obligation to America’s veterans. This new lifetime pass is a small demonstration of our nation’s gratitude and support for those who have selflessly served in the U.S. Armed Forces,” said Secretary Deb Haaland, whose father served during the Vietnam War. “I’m proud the Department of the Interior can provide veterans and Gold Star Families opportunities for recreation, education and enjoyment from our country’s treasured lands.”   


“This is a small token of appreciation for veterans who have bravely dedicated their lives to defending our freedom.” “This pass conveys our immense gratitude and respect for those who have given so much,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. “As a veteran, I know firsthand the many sacrifices that members of the Armed Forces and their families have made in service to our country, and I am thrilled that Gold Star Families and military veterans can now enjoy lifetime access to national parks and other public lands.” 


Each lifetime pass covers entrance fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle (or passholder and up to three adults at sites that charge per person) at national parks and national wildlife refuges, as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.   


Veterans can present one of the four forms of acceptable ID (Department of Defense ID Card, Veteran Health ID (VHIC), Veteran ID Card, or veteran’s designation on a state-issued US driver’s license or ID card) at participating federal recreation areas that normally charge an entrance fee. Gold Star Families obtain information, self-certify they qualify and download a voucher on  


On Monday, Nov 14th, Hugh Hawthorne, Assateague Island National Seashore Superintendent, will present the Lifetime Pass to military veterans now working as park employees and volunteer staff members. “I am honored that US Military Veterans and Gold Star Families can now enjoy lifetime access to national parks and other public lands and am proud to issue passes to our dedicated staff and volunteers who have served”, said Hugh Hawthorne, a U.S. Navy veteran.  


The Lifetime Military Pass for Gold Star Families and Veterans is available at the Assateague Island Visitor Center and the ranger station/campground office in the Maryland district and the Toms Cove Visitor Center in the Virginia district. For more general information about the Seashore and park activities access the park’s web site at or call 410-641-1441.  


Federal recreational land management agencies offer additional lifetime passes, including a Senior Pass for US citizens or permanent residents over age 62 and an Access Pass for US citizens or permanent residents with a permanent disability. More information is available on  


The Interior Department and other federal land agencies also offer fee-free entrance days for everyone throughout the year to mark days of celebration and commemoration, including the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., National Public Lands Day, and Veterans Day.  

The new lifetime pass for Gold Star Families and Military Veterans provides free entrance to national parks and other federal recreation areas. 

Last updated: November 10, 2022

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7206 National Seashore Lane
Berlin, MD 21811


410 641-1441

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