News / Calgary

Albertans taking advantage of free Parks Canada passes

Free Parks Canada Discovery Passes are available to be ordered online or picked up at any Parks Canada location across the country

Parks Canada's free discovery passes will get you into any of their sites across the country, including Banff National Park, pictured above.

File Photo

Parks Canada's free discovery passes will get you into any of their sites across the country, including Banff National Park, pictured above.

Albertans and Ontarians are top of the list when it comes to taking advantage of Parks Canada’s free park passes in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. 

Natalie Fay, chief of media relations at Parks Canada said as of December 1, 2016 they had received more than 2 million orders for free 2017 discovery passes—but she said not to worry if you haven’t picked yours up yet. 

“There was a bit of confusion around this, but the passes are actually available for order or for pick-up at any of our Parks Canada locations across the country for the entire year,” she said. 

Usually a family discovery pass costs $136.40, but Fay said it’s thanks to $83.3 million in funding (to be spread out over 5 years) from the federal government, that has made the free discovery passes possible. It will also make it possible for Parks Canada to offer free admission to children under 18 beginning in 2018.

Some fees within the Parks Canada locations— like camping, firewood and activity fees— will still apply, but entrance to parks is free for the year. 

Fay said there has been an overwhelming response to the free discovery passes celebrating Canada’s 150. Fay said although they don’t have exact number yet, their initial count has the most orders coming from Alberta and Ontario.

“It’s definitely been more than we would usually see, but we’re certainly happy to see people ordering their passes,” she said. 

Fay said Parks Canada will be offering many programs to celebrate 150, including their learn-to-camp program for first time campers, citizen science programs and special programming at national historic sites like Bar U Ranch, Rocky Mountain House and Cave and Basin—the birthplace of our national parks.

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