FREE National Park Passes for Hikers with Diabetes

Did you know, if you have Type 1 diabetes, you qualify for the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Access Pass?

That’s right! All individuals living with a permanent disability of any sort (for more around diabetes as a disability, check out this awesome article by Type 1 Ski Cross Racer, Lauren Salko) automatically qualify. What does that mean? Free National Parks - FOR LIFE!

Our friends at Connected In Motion, a Canadian non-profit for diabetes education, are here to help us out. Their community-based approach uses outdoor trips to learn more about ourselves and managing this disease.

Want in, too? Here’s what you need to know.

T1D hiker running along the trail during a Connected in Motion slipstream trip (Photo by Mike Last)

T1D hiker running along the trail during a Connected in Motion slipstream trip (Photo by Mike Last)


The Access Pass gives you and your fellow adventurers entry to over 2000 recreation sites throughout the United States, including:

  • All National Parks
  • All National Wildlife Refuges
  • All National Forest Lands

You can gain entry for yourself, as well as anyone traveling in your vehicle (if the park requires a per-vehicle fee) or up to three friends (if the park requires a per person fee.)

To get a pass for yourself, so you can get outside exploring, here’s what you need to know.

The Access Pass can be obtained:

  • In person at a park gate (Free!)

  • By mail ($10)

What you need:

  • Valid government-issued ID
  • A signed letter from your doctor stating that you have a permanent disability, Type 1 diabetes.
  • If applying by mail, a copy of the application form, found here. This is not needed if you are applying in person.

That’s it. It’s that easy! A perk of Type 1 diabetes and one less barrier to getting outside this summer.

The Canada 150 pass gives free access to all national parks for the year (apply here)

The Canada 150 pass gives free access to all national parks for the year (apply here)

Canada's National Parks turn 150 (free pass)

And for our Canadian friends out there, did you know that National Parks Passes are FREE in 2017 in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday?! Nothing needed - Just head on over to the Parks Canada Website and let ‘em know you want one! It’ll be at your doorstep in a few days.

Next time you’re out on the trail, keep your eyes peeled - You might just see some pump tubing poking out from under that pack strap, or some glucose tabs tucked into a side pocket as the Type 1 community takes the National Parks by storm.

At Connected in Motion, we love seeing the community empowered by adventure - Send us your pics, tag us in a social post, or use the hashtag #CIMAdventures. In the meantime, check out the recap of our more recent T1 hiking expedition in Gros Morne, Newfoundland!

Connected in Motion’s mission is to foster a community of people living with Type 1 Diabetes through peer-based experiential diabetes education, sport and outdoor adventure pursuits so that they may inspire one another to live life without limits. Based in Toronto, Ontario, Connected in Motion has been providing adventure programming for adults living with Type 1 diabetes throughout North America since 2008.