View of wooded mountains

Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah

Thanksgiving dinner this year was pretty special. We spent the holiday with an old school friend and her parents. Our friendship goes back to the second grade. It was camping with her parents in their popup every summer that left me with a lifelong passion for camping. Her parents had recently moved to Florida from out west. Over dinner they expressed frustration with obtaining their America the Beautiful Senior Pass. They had an upcoming National Park trip planned and were hoping to take advantage of the discount program.  Like a million other seniors, they applied for their pass in August right before the scheduled rate increase. Fortunately, after spending a little effort spent online, I was able to assure them that their pass was on the way. Possibly the pass would arrive by Christmas. Although a delivery date could not be guaranteed. However, they could still proceed with their plans; but they would have to use their receipts in lieu of the actual pass.

The America the Beautiful Senior Pass gives folks, over the age of 62, a lifetime pass to our National Parks and other sites for only $10. As of August 28, 2017, the America the Beautiful  – The National Park and Federal Recreation Land Pass, as it is formally known, was increased from $10 to $80. It was the first time this pass saw a price increase since 1994.  The increase was the result of legislation passed by Congress to address the growing back log of maintenance our national parks are suffering from. https://www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/nps-centennial-act.htm)

It is estimated that the rate increase will generate up to 37.6 million dollars. These funds will be used to enhance our park visitors experience by addressing the backlog of deferred maintenance, and generally improving our parks’ facilities and trails. https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/senior-pass-changes.htm

Currently one can purchase a senior pass on a lifetime basis for a single payment of $80 or buy an annual pass at $20. A lifetime pass is still available with the purchase of 4 previous annual passes, provided you save them. It is important to know these passes will not be replaced if they are lost or stolen.  If that happens, you will have to purchase another.

The senior pass provides entrance to the parks and in some cases it will provide additional discounts within the parks. Passes can be bought online at the USGS store although an additional $10 fee may be incurred. https://store.usgs.gov/ Or you may purchase the pass at the park entrance. https://store.usgs.gov/sites/default/files/PassIssuanceList.pdf

The pass provides access to all our National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, National Forests, National Grasslands, and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers.  That is over 2000 federal recreational sites! At the old price of $10, I’d say my friend’s parents got one heck of a deal. And, frankly, the new $20 price is still an extraordinary value. I think the Annual Senior Pass at $20 would make a great gift for the person who has everything. Now if only I could talk our government into selling gift cards!

Have you ever thought about volunteering at a National Park? All it takes is 250 hours to earn your lifetime park pass. https://store.usgs.gov/faq#Volunteer-Pass

Thanksgiving dinner this year was pretty special. We spent the holiday with an old school friend and her parents. Our friendship goes back to the second grade. It was camping with her parents in their popup every summer that left me with a lifelong passion for camping. Her parents had recently moved to Florida from out west. Over dinner they expressed frustration with obtaining their America the Beautiful Senior Pass. They had an upcoming National Park trip planned and were hoping to take advantage of the discount program.  Like a million other seniors, they applied for their pass in August right before the scheduled rate increase. Fortunately,after spending a little effort spent online, I was able to assure them that their pass was on the way. Possibly the pass would arrive by Christmas. Although a delivery date could not be guaranteed. However, they could still proceed with their plans; but they would have to use their receipts in lieu of the actual pass.

The America the Beautiful Senior Pass gives folks, over the age of 62, a lifetime pass to our National Parks and other sites for only $10.As of August 28, 2017, the America the Beautiful  – The National Park and Federal Recreation Land Pass, as it is formally known, was increased from $10 to $80. It was the first time this pass saw a price increase since 1994.  The increase was the result of legislation passed by Congress to address the growing back log of maintenance our national parks are suffering from. https://www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/nps-centennial-act.htm)

It is estimated that the rate increase will generate up to 37.6 million dollars. These funds will be used to enhance our park visitors experience by addressing the backlog of deferred maintenance, and generally improving our parks’facilities and trails. https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/senior-pass-changes.htm

Currently one can purchase a senior pass on a lifetime basis for a single payment of $80 or buy an annual pass at $20. A lifetime pass is still available with the purchase of 4 previous annual passes, provided you save them. It is important to know these passes will not be replaced if they are lost or stolen.  If that happens, you will have to purchase another.

The senior pass provides entrance to the parks and in some case it will provide additional discounts within the parks. Passes can be bought online at the USGS store although an additional $10 fee may be incurred. https://store.usgs.gov/ Or you may purchase the pass at the park entrance. https://store.usgs.gov/sites/default/files/PassIssuanceList.pdf

The pass provides access to all our National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, National Forests, National Grasslands, and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers.  That is over 2000 federal recreational sites! At the old price of $10, I’d say my friend’s parents got one heck of a deal. And, frankly, the new $20 price is still an extra ordinary value. I think the Annual Senior Pass at $20 would make a great gift for the person who has everything. Now if only I could talk our government into selling gift cards!

Have you ever thought about volunteering at a National Park?All it takes is 250 hours to earn your annual park pass. https://store.usgs.gov/faq#Volunteer-Pass