Calgarians delighted by news of free national park passes for 2017

If you buy an annual pass for Canada’s national parks and historic sites this year, it won’t expire for two years.

That’s because the federal government has made entry into the national parks free in 2017 for the 150th anniversary of the country’s Confederation.

No one from Parks Canada responded to a request for an interview Monday, but a spokeswoman emailed a statement.

“As a first step towards celebrating Canada150, Discovery Passes for 2016 will be valid for 24 months, rather than 12 months,” wrote Parks Canada’s Natalie Fay. “All Parks Canada 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 and free admission to Parks Canada places in 2017.”

It means an annual pass bought today would be valid until January 2018, rather than January 2017.

The free parks pass was first mentioned in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna.

“Make admission for all visitors to national parks free in 2017, the 150th anniversary of Confederation,” it states.

The news came as a welcome bonus to social media users who’ve already bought their park passes for this year.

“Who knew?” wrote Cheri Macaulay on Twitter. “If you get a Parks Canada annual pass now, it’s good until 2018. Because we all get in free in 2017 for Canada’s 150th!”

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