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The Real Banff Blog / Published: Wed, 01/18/2017 - 13:42

Your Complete Guide to A Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass

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Happy Birthday, Canada! 

Thanks to our good friends at Parks Canada, admission to Canada's National Parks system will be free for 2017. (Looking to order your free pass? Order here.) 

Otherwise, here's a quick breakdown of some frequently asked questions about your free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass.

Q1. Where will the free passes be available in 2017?   

A1. The Canadian Government is happy to offer free admission for all visitors to national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas operated by Parks Canada in 2017 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. 

Q2. What happens if someone in the park is found without one? 

A2. Visitors will receive a Discovery Pass at no cost for the 2017 season. Should someone be found without a pass, our staff will be happy to provide them with one. Providing Discovery Passes will enable Parks Canada to continue recording the number of visitors during 2017, thus allowing the Agency to better tailor their programs and services for visitors and ensure they meet their expectations. 

Q3. Will the gates be closed in 2017? 

A3. No, Parks Canada will continue to operate Parks gates as this is great opportunity to talk to visitors and provide them orientation information and help with their trip planning. Once someone has a pass for the year they will not have to stop again, but getting orientation information initially will be very helpful in ensuring that all visitors have an enjoyable experience. 

Q4. What is free in 2017?

A4. As part of Budget 2016, the Canadian Government announced free admission for all visitors (Canadian and International) to national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas operated by Parks Canada in 2017 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Canada’s national parks and national historic sites will play a big part in Canada’s anniversary celebrations. Parks Canada is working closely with its Government of Canada partners on plans to celebrate Canada150.

Q5. Will other services like camping within Parks Canada’s operated sites be free as well? 

A5. Only admission to Parks Canada managed places, including waterways, will be free in 2017. Fees for recreational services and goods such as camping and firewood or enhanced interpretation programs will remain. 

Q6. Since entry will be free in 2017, will there still be a need to obtain a Discovery Pass for 2017? 

A6. Yes, visitors will receive a Discovery Pass at no cost for the 2017 season. You can get one here. This will enable Parks Canada to continue recording the number of visitors during 2017, thus allowing the Agency to better tailor our programs and services for visitors and ensure we meet their expectations. Discovery Passes purchased in 2016 will be valid for 24 months, which covers the 2017 season. Holders of 2016 Discovery Pass will not need to obtain another pass for 2017. 

Q7. How is this applied to my 2016 purchase?

A7. As part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, Discovery Passes purchased in 2016 will be valid for 24 months from the date of purchase. The passes will incorporate the purchase of one year’s admission as well as admission to Parks Canada places in 2017. For example, a Discovery Pass purchased in February 2016 will be valid through February 2018. Holders of 2016 Discovery Pass will not need to obtain another pass for 2017. 

You can order your Free 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass here today!