Frequently Asked Questions

  1. The Master Database (MDB): This is one of most highly prized tools available to our members, whether or not you collect stamps from the parks. The Master Database is our crowd-sourced register of all NPS and other stamping locations across the United States. It contains images and GPS locations of all known Passport to Your National Parks© stamps. Members can enter their stamp images for awards and for an electronic backup of their stamps. Members can track and plan their National Park visits. Non-stamp collectors may be persuaded to stop at a location that otherwise may have overlooked.
  2. The Collective Knowledge of NPTC members: several dozen of our members have been to ALL of the over 400 NP units (some have been twice) and have a deep wealth of information about all aspects of visiting various national parks. Just ask on our private forums.
  3. Awards: Members can earn both annual and lifetime awards for visiting the National Parks.
  4. Wiki: a crowdsourced Wiki with members’ advice and tips to visiting the parks.
  5. Trip Reports: Curious about visiting a particular national park site? Look through our database of member trip reports for that site and get the lowdown on that park.
  6. Member Meetups: Meetups happens around the country at different parks. If you attend, you also have access to a special official passport stamp different for each region.
  7. Annual Convention: Each year the club organizes a convention at a different National Park Site for our annual members meeting and club fellowship. Various special National Park tours, events, and programs in the local area are arranged by the club for the benefit of the membership. As a member, you are highly encouraged to attend the convention (if you are able) and enjoy exploring National Parks and meet your fellow club members. Additionally, special Park Passport Stamps are available to attendees.
  8. Unigrid Clearinghouse: The club maintains a collection of different park brochures (unigrids) that is free to all members. Traveling to National Park of American Samoa and want a copy of the map before you go? Contact the clearing house and if they have that unigrid, it will be sent to you.
  9. Requesting stamps: The club runs a forum for trading and/or requesting passport stamps. Was the visitor center closed when you went to Big Bend? Ask and a member may have a copy or may be able to go to the park and get an impression for you (sometimes on the date that you had visited).

Master Database (MDB)

There are three ways to search in the MDB, although only two are recommended for new members (the third is a legacy Search Type).

Keyword Search

The Keyword Search mode is the most powerful way to search for stamps in the MDB. The auto-complete feature will help you find what you're looking for. For a mini-tutorial on the Keyword Search, click on the Help link directly above and to the right side of the Keyword Search field.

Address Search

The Address Search allows you to do a radius search for stamps from a given point. You can specify your desired radius distance. The address (center point) can be a zip code, city/state, full street adress, GPS coordinates, or even a Point of Interest. Basically, if Google Maps can find it, it can be used as a center point for the search.

Classic Search

This is the legacy search method from MDB 1.0 and is not recommended for new users.

Also, be sure to check out the Advanced Search options by clicking the link directly below the search box. As you become more comfortable with the MDB, these options can help you narrow your search results to only the stamps you really want to see.

First, make sure that you have ‘Include Retired’ checked in your search criteria. Old stamps that are no longer available, but still in the database will not show up unless this box is checked. If you still can’t find it, post in the “Stamp Confirmations and Master Database” forum with a scan of the stamp. You’ll either be notified of the stamp number or a new stamp number will be assigned.

Also post in this forum if you find a stamp in a location that is not listed for a particular stamp, or if you wish to report an update for a stamp location.

  1. Scan your stamps. Each stamp needs to have its own unique image. In other words, you can't scan a whole page of stamps and use that one image for each stamp record.
  2. Sign into the website.
  3. Click on the Master Resources Tab in the black menu band at the top of the page. Click on “Master Stamp Database (MDB)”.
  4. Enter the park name your stamp is from (we'll use Andersonville as an example) and click Search. The search results appear and show all the active stamps.
  5. Find the stamp text in the search results that EXACTLY matches your stamp. On the left side, above the “See Stamp History” button, you will see the text that your stamp must match. This includes punctuation like periods (DC and D.C. are different stamps) and capitalization (ANDERSONVILLE, GA and Andersonville, GA are different stamps). Don't rely on just the stamp image being displayed in the search results, as that could be incorrect (if the displayed stamp image doesn't match the text, you can report that in the MDB forum as well)
  6. On the right side click the “Add Your Stamp” button.
  7. Fill in the info requested. You must include the date, but you don't have to include the image. However, if you are going to apply for a Master Traveler Award at the end of the year, the image must be in the database. The location is also optional, and it's recommended that you leave it blank if you don't remember for sure where you got the stamp (the stamp will still count for the MTA).
  8. Click the “Upload” button.
  9. The screen will go back to the search results and your image will appear under “Your Stamps”.

Enter the date you actually got the stamp. For example, if you're receiving a stamp by mail after a past visit, use the date you received the stamp in the mail as the Confirmation Date even if the date on the stamp is the date you actually visited. (In this case, also select the most appropriate "Mail" option in the Location field.)

Yes. Let’s say that you visit Grand Portage in Minnesota a couple of times a year. You can enter your stamp for every visit, but only one of the confirmations will be counted for an award in that year.


Yes. To edit, click on the pencil/tablet icon in the lower right side of the post. Correct or edit your post and then click on “Update Reply.” To delete a post, click on the Red “X” in the lower right.

Click on the right arrow icon in the upper right of the post you want to quote. You’ll get a screen to fill in your reply. Click on “Preview” to see your posting before you send it, or “Reply to thread” to post without previewing.

The first icon (on the left) will take you to that member’s profile. The member determines what is visible to other members.

The second icon (letter) will allow you to email that member. This is only available if the member has allowed their email to be available on the website. To update, go to User Settings and change your email preference.

The third icon (two people facing each other) is for the Personal Message (PM) feature. This allows a member to contact another member without using email. A red dot will show by the recipient’s user name in the upper right corner to notify them that they have a PM.

The fourth icon allows you to “like” a post. “Liking” a post in anonymous; no one can see who has liked any post.

The shaded in areas represent regions that have been completed (i.e. the member has visited every NPS unit in that region). To update your regions, click on your user name in the upper right corner and then click on “User Settings”. Change the default ‘blank’ to ‘Complete’ and that region will show as finished. The region colors match the Passport to Your National Parks© colors.

The number represents the number of posts the member has made. You can turn this off by going to “User Settings” and turning on “Hide forum post count.”


Annual Awards

  • Master Traveler Awards (MTA): MTAs are achieved by visiting a certain number of Regions and Units, as well as collecting a certain number of Stamps, in a calendar year. The MTA Levels are Special Achivement, Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
  • Park Traveler Awards (PTA): The PTAs are for members who don't collect stamps. The PTA Levels (Special, Bronze, Silver, and Gold) are similar to the MTA Levels, except that there are no stamp requirements.
  • Clean Sweep Award: This award is an "add-on" to both the MTA and PTA, and is available to members who have visited at least one park in each of the nine Passport regions during the calendar year.
  • Temporary annual awards: These special awards are available temporarily from one to several years. Although typically related to "Special Edition" stamp collections issued by Eastern National (such as Passport 25th Anniversary [2011], Civil War 150th Anniversary [2011-2015], and NPS Centennial [2016]), a temporary annual award can also be authorized for special circumstancs (such as the Virtual Traveler Award during the COVID-19 pandemic).

Lifetime Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement Awards (LAA): LAA certificates are awarded for the milestones on your quest to visit as many National Park Service (NPS) Units as you can in your lifetime. The LAA levels are Bronze (100+), Silver (200+), Gold (300+), Titanium (400+), and Platinum (All Units).
  • Lower 48 Award: This certificate is awarded to NPTC members who have visited every official NPS Unit in the contiguous United States (48 states + the District of Columbia), including the Seattle sub-unit of Klondike Gold Rush NHP.
  • Meet-Up Clean Sweep Award: This award can be earned by attending an official NPTC Meet-Up in each of the nine Passport regions. There is no limit to the number of times this certificate can be achieved by a member, but any given Meet-Up can only be used for one submission.

Annual Awards

Instructions for applying for awards are on the website under the “Awards” tab. The information for applying for an annual Master Traveler or Park Traveler Award is in a downloadable format.

You can apply for Master Traveler Awards either electronically or via paper/US Mail, while Park Traveler Awards are online only.

Applications for annual awards are ONLY accepted during January and February following the award year.

Important: If you are applying for the MTA electronically, please do not submit your application until ALL of your stamp images have been entered into the MDB.

To apply for the MTA via paper/US Mail, make a copy of all the stamps you will be submitting for the award. Download the paper copy and complete the information. You will be asked to check off the park units that you visited AND have stamp(s) for (stamps not required for the Park Traveler Award). Submit the application, along with your stamp images to the address on the application. Since these applications are reviewed multiple times, PLEASE submit your stamp images in the order they are checked on the application and separate by region.

Lifetime Awards

You can only apply for Lifetime Awards electronically. Online applications are available under the "Awards" menu on the website.

Annual Awards

No for the annual Master Traveler/Park Traveler Awards, with one exception. If you join in January or February, you can apply for an award from the previous year provided you can get your application submitted prior to the deadline. You can not apply for awards for two, three or any other number of years prior to your joining the club.

Lifetime Awards

Yes. For the Lifetime Achievement Awards, you need not have been a member when you visited the park units. Many members join with any number of previous park visits, and those visits will count toward the Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Annual Awards

For the annual Master Traveler, Park Traveler, and Clean Sweep Awards, applications must be submitted by the last day of February of the year following the award year. No exceptions will be made; applications go through a review process which doesn’t start until all applications are received.

Lifetime Awards

There are no deadlines for Lifetime Awards.

Annual Awards

Master Traveler certificates will be mailed after all the award applications have been reviewed and approved. This is usually in late April to early summer.

Park Traveler certificates are only sent via email. No hard copy certificate will be sent.

Lifetime Awards

Lifetime Awards are processed and mailed quarterly.

Annual Awards

If you apply electronically, you get an application number when you finish applying and your application has been accepted.

No mail-in applications will receive acknowledgements. Please keep a copy of your MTA application and stamps when submitting via the USPS.

Lifetime Awards

You can request an email acknowledgement during the online application process.


The expiration date is on your User Profile on the website. All memberships expire on the last day of the month. No one can see your membership number or expiration date except you. You can’t change your expiration date. You will receive up to three email notifications when your membership is close to expiring, provided you have agreed to receive emails from the NPTC.
Your membership number is on your membership card. It is also on your User Profile on the website. To view your profile, go to the Home page and click on your username in the upper right corner of the screen and then click on “User Profile”. You can’t change your membership number.

The USER ID number is the number that is assigned to the user when they first register on the site.  You do not need to pay dues to sign up for the site. The membership number is assigned sequentially after dues are paid.

The first membership numbers were assigned in the order that people signed in at the Rocky Mountain convention in 2004 AND paid their dues.  After that, as people paid dues, they were assigned the next number.

If people fail to renew, their membership numbers are not re-assigned.

You will receive an “Acknowledgement of Renewal” email, or a PM if you have opted out of emails from the NPTC. You can also check your User Profile on the website (see above). Your expiration date will be changed to reflect dues payment. This usually happens within 24 hours of paying with PayPal. It will take longer for checks. Allow time for the US Mail to be delivered to the Membership Director.

Member accounts are inactivated on the 2nd of the month following the expiration month. For example, accounts with an expiration of May 31st will be inactivated on June 2nd. You will no longer have access to many features of the site, including the Master Database. However, any stamps that you have entered into the MDB will remain there and be visible to you if you renew, provided you use the inactivated account.

Renewals are currently assessed at $5 per year, and you can renew for as many years as you like. However, you must renew within three months of the membership expiration date to pay this rate and the expiration month will revert to the original expiration month. If your membership is expired for longer than three months, the first year will be $10 and $5 for subsequent years. These are the current rates are subject to change.

For example, a membership expires on 01/31/2021. If the member wants to renew for one year, a payment of $5 must be made by 04/30/2021. The new membership expiration date would be 01/31/2022. If the payment is made after 04/30/2021 (assume the payment is made on 05/25/2021), the amount due would be $10 and the new expiration date would be 05/31/2022.

If your account is inactivated and you later decide to re-join, please do NOT create a new account. Your old account can be re-activated. Information from your old account (stamps entered into the MDB, for example) will not transfer to the new account. If you have forgotten your user name or password, please contact the Membership Director at:

Click on your user name in the upper right, and then click on “User Settings.” You can change your information here. IMPORTANT: Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Save Settings”, otherwise your changes will not be saved.

If you want to add a person to your individual account, please contact the Membership Director at There is not an additional cost to change an Individual account to a Joint account unless a new membership card is requested.

Currently, you can renew your membership at any time, and for any length of time. We do not offer a ‘lifetime’ membership, but you can pay for as many years as you want.
No, dues are not refundable after you have been activated as a NPTC Member and given access to the website features.

Contact the Membership Director ( and request up to 15 cards. Send a PM or email with the following information:

  • your name (and NPTC #, if you have it)
  • how many you would like (MAX of 15 only!)
  • the address to which you would like them sent.

The 15-card limit is what can be sent in a first-class envelope. If you would like more for a specific meet up or occasion, please contact the Membership Director at

Remember, do not leave these cards lying around any national park site without specific permission. They are great to hand out to people interested in stamping.

You (or the recipient) need to set up an account on the website with a username/password. The account also must have a unique email. You can set up an account for the recipient and pay through your account. You need to notify the Membership Director ( of the new account and your payment. Otherwise, the payment will be credited to your account. Please contact the Membership Director with questions, or if you have a special request (gift membership is a surprise).

A Junior member is any member under the age of 18. Every Junior member needs to be sponsored by an active (current on dues) member. Junior members have the same benefits as Individual members, except they are not allowed to vote in elections, and they cannot hold office.

To enroll a Junior member, you need to create a new user account/password for the member, which requires a unique email. Once the account is created, you can pay through your account, but you must notify the Membership Director that the payment is to go to the Junior member. Otherwise, the payment will be credited to your account.

If sponsors fail to keep current on dues, the Junior membership will be inactivated until the sponsor pays their dues.

Junior Members are automatically moved to Individual Members on their 18th birthday.

Currently, a Junior membership costs $5 per year, including the first year. If a member is sponsoring more than one Junior member, the cost is $5 for the first year for each Junior member, but the additional Junior memberships are $2 to renew. For example, a member sponsors children A, B, and C. The cost for the first year is $15 ($5 each). Renewal cost would be $9 ($2 for A, $2 for B and $5 for C). Once child A ages out of the Junior category, the cost would be $7 ($2 for B and $5 for C.)