Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   




Veterans, Service Members Now Eligible for free Parks Passes 

As a result of a bill passed during the last legislative session, active-duty military, honorably discharged veterans and the immediate family of service members who died while serving now qualify for one of three new Parklands Passports. These passports are available at no cost and grant the cardholder free entry to all Texas State Parks.

The new categories of Parklands Passports, which can be obtained at any state park, are Active Duty, Veterans and Gold Star. These cards join four other existing passports — Senior Partial, Senior Full, Disability and Disabled Veterans — each with their own rules, qualifying documents and benefits.

The Active Duty passport allows free entry to Texas State Parks for an individual currently serving in the United States armed forces. This includes the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Space Force, as well as Reserve and National Guard members. Applicants will need to present a valid photo identification and proof of active-duty service issued by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

The Veterans passport allows free entry to Texas State Parks for a service member who was honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces. Applicants will need a valid photo identification and either a DOD-issued veteran’s identification card, state-issued driver’s license or identification card that includes U.S. military veteran designation, military discharge papers, or veteran’s health identification card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Gold Star passport allows free entry to Texas State Parks for a surviving spouse, parent, child or sibling of a person who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. This also includes stepsiblings and stepparents. Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles and cousins are not eligible. Each eligible family member must apply for their own Parklands Passport. Applicants will need to show three documents to be issued a passport — state-issued identification, service member’s proof of casualty and proof of relationship to the deceased.

The Veterans and Gold Star passes do not expire, and the Active Duty passes must be renewed every 12 months. For more information, including eligibility requirements and acceptable documents, visit the Texas Parklands Passport page on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.   

 TPWD Staff; Rachel Caldwell



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