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Obtaining a Free Lifetime National Parks Pass for People with Diabetes

National Parks Pass

Free Lifetime National Parks Pass for People with Diabetes

Living with diabetes comes with its daily challenges, but did you know that there’s a special opportunity available for individuals dealing with this condition? This guide will show you how to obtain a free lifetime National Park Pass, known as the America the Beautiful Access Pass, granting access to over 2,000 federal recreation sites, including iconic national parks and historical landmarks.

Additionally, we’ll share insights from Alex Day, a dedicated national parks enthusiast who has managed type 1 diabetes for two decades. Alex provides invaluable tips for safely enjoying outdoor activities with diabetes. Fill out this form to see if you or a friend qualify for Continuous Glucose Monitors.

1. The America the Beautiful Access Pass: A Ticket to National Parks for Those with Disabilities

The America the Beautiful Access Pass, a free lifetime version of the National Park Service’s annual pass, is a treasure for U.S. citizens and permanent residents living with permanent disabilities. Diabetes, recognized as a disability by the American Diabetes Association, qualifies individuals for this pass. The Access Pass opens the door to breathtaking national parks, historical sites, battlefields, and other federal recreation sites.

2. Eligibility for the America the Beautiful Access Pass

To be eligible for the America the Beautiful Access Pass, you must be a U.S. person who is a citizen or a permanent resident who has a persistent disability. Documentation of disability can be established through various means, including:

A statement from a licensed physician describing your permanent disability and its limitations.
Official documents from federal agencies like the Veteran’s Administration, Social Security Disability Income, or Supplemental Security Income.

Documentation from state agencies such as vocational rehabilitation agencies.

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3. Applying for the America the Beautiful Access Pass

You can apply for the America the Beautiful Access Pass through three methods:

In-person (Free): Visit a federal recreation site for an in-person application. Confirm the site’s availability and operation hours in advance.
Online ($10): Order the pass from the USGS Store, requiring a $10 processing fee, with a three-week processing and delivery time.
Mail ($10): Download, complete, and mail the application form, along with a $10 processing fee and postage expenses. Allow at least three weeks for processing and delivery.

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4. Tips for Outdoor Activities with Diabetes

Alex Day, who has navigated life with type 1 diabetes for over two decades, shares invaluable tips for staying safe and enjoying outdoor activities:

Be Prepared

Before heading out, assess the environmental conditions, such as altitude, sun exposure, and weather, which can impact diabetes management. Research accessibility for people with disabilities at your destination and consult with park rangers for trail information.

Carry Extra Supplies

Always have extra supplies, including insulin, test strips, and manual equipment. Prepare for hypoglycemia with “low supplies” like glucagon and snacks. Consider a prescription for extra manual supplies and confirm your basal insulin dose.

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Eat a Balanced Breakfast

Opt for a balanced breakfast with even proportions of carbs, fat, and protein to avoid glucose spikes during outdoor activities. Steer clear of high-sugar foods.

Store Medications Properly

Pay attention to the temperature range for storing insulin and other medications. Avoid extreme temperature conditions by using cooling cases or insulation.

Take a Buddy

Hiking with a friend enhances safety and enjoyment, especially for diabetes management. Choose a buddy who can identify signs of hypoglycemia, and if hiking alone, opt for busier trails to ensure assistance is nearby in emergencies.


Living with diabetes doesn’t have to be a barrier to enjoying the great outdoors, and America the Beautiful Access Pass makes it easier than ever to explore national parks and federal recreation sites. Follow these steps and insights from Alex Day to embark on memorable outdoor adventures while managing diabetes effectively.