Special Access Pass for Veterans with Disabilities & Refunds for Active Duty Military On Leave

Eligibility:

We offer free camping and free parking at day-use fee parks to these groups:

  • U.S. veterans with any level of service-connected disability
  • Active duty U.S. military on official leave

These benefits are handled in slightly different ways. Read on!

The Special Access Pass is for veterans with a service-connected disability. Survivors of deceased veterans, spouse and/or other family members of veterans do not qualify for this pass.  Eligible U.S. military members on leave are reimbursed for their campsite and day-use costs. Both benefits are subject to some restrictions.

What it Covers

If you are eligible, this benefit gives you free parking at the 25 state parks that charge a day-use parking fee. It also covers your camping costs in RV sites, tent campsites & standard horse camp sites. You may camp for free in a tent, RV or standard horse camp site for 10 nights at a time at a single state park, or a total of 10 nights in a calendar month, regardless of the location. If you stay longer than 10 nights at a park, or in a calendar month, you will pay the standard rate for the extra days.

What it Doesn’t Cover

This benefit does not cover yurts, cabins or other special park facilities, nor does it cover the $8 fee to make reservations or the $7 per night charge for a 2nd driven vehicle.

Getting a Pass

For U.S. veterans with a service-connected disability, here is the process:

  1. Obtain a letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs stating you have a service-connected disability.
  2. Fill out this application and send it to us (by mail, or in person at our Salem office). Or, call 1-800-551-6949 for a copy, or help. We now accept applications by email.  Scan or photograph your application and letter stating you have a service connected disability and email it to us at special.access@oregon.gov.
  3. We process the application and send you a pass in the mail. If you stop by our headquarters office in Salem, we can usually print out your pass right away. The pass is valid for four years. 

Getting a Refund

Members of the military on active duty and on official leave need to pay up front and then get reimbursed. After your visit, send us

  • the camping or day-use receipt for the dates of your stay, and 
  • a letter from your CO on official letterhead stating you were on leave for the dates you visited or camped.

We must receive your refund request no later than 30 days after the last day of your stay. We send refunds within three weeks of a request.

Camping without a Pass

If you camp without your Special Access Pass (and have one, or are eligible for one, of course) you must pay up front. After your visit, you can apply for a refund. If you have not yet applied for the pass, you may include your refund request with your application.  We must receive your refund request no later than 30 days after the last day of your stay. We send refunds within three weeks of a request.

Please mail all applications or refund requests to:
 
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
ATTN: Veterans Pass Program
725 Summer ST NE, Suite C
Salem, OR 97301

How to Renew

The pass expires every four years. A few months before the expiry date, we will send you a reminder postcard. You must sign the postcard and mail it back to us. (This verifies your address, and that you still plan to use the benefit.) No return postcard—no new pass.

If you have moved since you received your pass, please contact us by phone or email us at special.access@oregon.gov. Please include your pass number, name and new address. We will mail out a renewal postcard to your new address. You must sign and return the postcard to us to renew your pass.

Other Things To Know

  • If you have a pass, carry it with you, along with photo I.D.
  • The person eligible for the discount must occupy the campsite. Otherwise, the discount is invalid. Your Special Access card or leave papers are not transferable to anyone else, even other veterans.
  • When you arrive at a park, you will be asked for photo ID to confirm that you are the Special Access Pass holder.
  • If you lose this pass or the green placard it hangs in, please request a replacement by sending us a letter with your name, address and home phone. There is a $5 charge to replace a lost card.
  • Please remember that this pass (or refund) applies only to Oregon State Parks. Other campgrounds and parks will still charge you a user fee.
  • If you have any questions about the program or the Special Access Pass, please call 1-800-551-6949, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. You may also email questions to special.access@oregon.gov.

Questions about other military-related benefits? Visit ODVA

Some parks are open for day-use and camping, with reduced services. Check the Park Status Map and FAQ for details. Campfire restrictions may be in place.