Permanent National Parks Pass for diabetics

I believe it was @CatLady who mentioned it once – it is possible for (unlimited) diabetics to obtain a permanent access pass to all National Parks for $10 for life:

I just found the URL, which I had carefully stored in a place where I would not forget it, and forgotten it there.

LOL, I just qualified for the genuine “geezer” park pass! But people with disabilities are eligible are eligible for one, too, and that includes diabetes.

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Does this extend to family as well? For instance, if the drive-in fee for Yosemite is $25, will my son’s park pass get us in for free?

Yes, if you are in the same car!

Diabetes per se is not a qualification for a free pass. However, complications thereof which significantly impact one’s mobility/abilities would.

The Access Pass may be issued to U.S. citizens or permanent residents of any age that have been medically determined to have a permanent disability (does not have to be a 100% disability) that severely limits one or more major life activities.

A permanent disability is a permanent physical, mental, or sensory impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

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hmm…yeah we wouldn’t qualify then. His main disability is that he’s a toddler and I’m hoping that’s not permanent.


I don’t know if you are right: Is Diabetes a disability? | ADA
“The short answer is Yes.”

I just don’t know enough to know :slight_smile:

The ADA is concerned w/ protection from discrimination and assures public accomodations.

It’s worth paying the extra $15 to not make your children feel the way that this would when they’re old enough to ponder such things

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Either way it will be a while before our kids pay any attention whatsoever to who’s paying, how, and why.

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Also, to be fair for those who visit a lot of national parks, the disability pass could represent hundreds of dollars over a 10-year span. If you do a road trip in Utah, that may be 5 Nat’l Parks right there and then it winds up being the cost of an annual pass. Not saying that stunting my children’s psyche is worth that amount, just saying it’s not necessarily a trivial cost for many families.

Also I don’t think I would be be able to predict how this would make them feel. I know some people who would rather be on death’s doorstep than take accommodations that would help them as long as they don’t have to have the label of “disabled.” I know others who see it as simply a tool to get the accommodations they need or even don’t need and are simply convenient. I’m not sure how my kids will view it. We try to teach them that they should “do things for themselves if they possibly can and make sure to help others who can’t” but who knows if they’ll internalize that lesson.

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well, so I know for sure that you *can get a national parks pass for T1D, at least for minors. Because my husband asked the last time we went to Diabetes Camp, which is in a national park, at the entrance. We didn’t wind up getting it because our camp fees paid for admission anyways and it required mailing in an application. But I think my husband sees it as equivalent to, say, being a senior, a child, a veteran, an AAA member or a member of the military. He doesn’t see it as a semantically charged thing.
i’m a little more on the fence about it. My mom was ecstatic when she finally aged up into her senior discount at movie theaters, and my dad stubbornly refused to cash in for many years. So I think people’s opinions on these things varies depending on how much weight they attach to the label given to them for what is essentially a ticket price or admission fee.

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I would feel very comfortable using this pass. Diabetes has probably cost us $10-$12K out of pocket last year, along with many hundreds of hours of extra work and many hundreds of hours of lost sleep.

So I have no psy qualms at all. In fact, I’d happily trade the pass if anybody wants the rest with it.

[EDIT] In fact, it just occurs to me that this pass is a great psychological opportunity to say:

F.U. Diabetes!

My wife refuses to let me research any type of Federal or State assistance for Liam because such assistance would label him “disabled”.

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10 posts were split to a new topic: Diabetes and starting school: difficult choices?

A post was merged into an existing topic: Diabetes and starting school: difficult choices?

One of the cool things my parents did for me when I was growing up as a T1D was never letting me know it. No special privileges and no special restrictions. On Halloween, I’d get extra insulin so I could eat some of the candy. (This backfired one time when I didn’t eat any…)

If you need a pass, get one and use it. Just like a handicap parking sticker for a car. Nobody would fault someone for that.

But if you don’t need it - if diabetes is not a disability for you, then getting one will only start to reinforce the idea that diabetes is a disability. And I think that is an unfortunate thing to do for the sake of saving a few bucks to get into a park.


This is what we do for the most part. the “chang out” parts is something we can’t avoid, but he pretty much eats what his brothers eat…we just make sure the insulin matches whatever he eats.

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My dad is blind and mobility impaired – he uses a cane to walk and has mid-stage heart failure so walking long distances is very taxing. He totally qualifies for a handicapped parking pass as a result.

But does he need it? Well, sometimes, very occasionally, he does. But most of the time, he can still walk from that farther parking spot. He can still go with us to the zoo, walk in the park, etc., as long as he can take long breaks when he gets winded.

So by the same metric, no, of course we don’t “need” a disability pass to access a national park – I would venture to say there are very few people with a disability who simply could not go to a nat’l park if they didn’t have that free pass. (True access pressure points are things like curb cuts, elevators, or paved trails – whether you have free access or not is really not likely to be a deal breaker for anybody.)

So I see this pass as simply a very small, modest perk to make life easier for a group of people who have some additional burdens in everyday life. I think these types of accommodations actually help people with disabilities feel less restricted in everyday life. They remove one tiny obstacle or burden to going out and doing what everyone else does, because when you have a disability, one of the major burdens in our society is financial. By that metric diabetes absolutely IS a disability.

Also this idea that a pass your parents would have would somehow be of enough interest to you that it would shape how you see yourself – this I don’t get. I was never that curious about the coupons or passes my parents used to pay for things. Now, a disability label on health insurance, in schools – this to me seems more consequential, and something to think carefully about using.

But a pass to a national park seems more akin to “kids eat free” or “10% triple A discount.” I don’t think it has these grand, overarching effects on a kid’s psyche.


Just catching up on this thread.
I think the psychological aspect is more taxing on an adult than on a child in this case. Some of us, and I suspect @Eric feels much the same, look at it as admitting a disability. With the proudest part of my being, I am proof to the world and more importantly to myself that diabetes has not nor will it ever impact me in such a way as to have to give into it.

At 65 years old and 46 years of T1 under my belt, I push myself harder than most people and have accomplished more than a lot of people who don’t have diabetes. That is the way I say FU diabetes every day. Accepting a discount because I’m diabetic would be anathema to my entire being.