PARKS -- I have a gut feeling that this might be a busier than normal and perhaps not an ideal year to visit Canada's national parks. But I got the free pass anyway. It's a deal.
Canada’s national parks, celebrating their 150th anniversary this year, are rolling out the welcome mats by offering free entry to everybody.
The incentive will continue in 2018 with free admission for children under 18 – as well as for new Canadian citizens.
Most funding for Parks Canada’s roughly $670 million annual budget comes from the federal government, but the agency also generates its own revenue from a variety of sources, including entrance fees, camping and recreation fees, rentals and concessions.
Entrance fees totaled roughly $59 million – half of Parks Canada’s non-government revenue – according to the agency’s 2014 annual report.
The free Discovery Pass that will get you into any park can be obtained at park entrances or get them in advance by signing up online. Delivery could take up to six weeks.
For all of 2017, this pass gives you unlimited opportunities to enjoy Canadian national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites across the country.
Only one pass is needed for a group or family traveling together in the same vehicle or arriving together at a marine conservation area or historic site.
Camping fees are not included with the Discovery Pass and activities such as tours or parking that normally carry a separate fee may not be covered.