It still costs $10 for a lifetime Senior Pass to American National Parks. But not for long. On August 28, the fee jumps to $80. The pass is available to any U.S. citizen 62 years and older.
The pass provides free admission to sites managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Where access is charged per vehicle, everyone riding with the pass holder enters for free — so long as they’re not in a commercial vehicle. The pass typically provides half-price discounts at campgrounds, a huge benefit to RVers.
Publicity over the dramatic price hike has sent eligible citizens flocking to National Parks and other NPS sites to get one. The demand has been so high that some parks have run out of the passes with only weeks to go before the price hike. Some government agencies have issued vouchers.
“We are seeing incredible demand for the senior passes throughout our park and throughout the entire National Park Service,” Brent Everitt, a park ranger for Gulf Islands National Seashore, said Monday.
National Parks Service’s chief of public affairs Tom Crosson wrote in an email to The Associated Press that some sites that normally sell only a few hundred passes a year are now “selling that many in a day.”
According to Crosson, agencies expect to sell up to two million passes by this fall, about two to three times more than last year. Online and mail orders in 2016 were about 33,000 but have surpassed 250,000 so far this year and are expected to surge past 300,000 by the price-hike deadline.
Seniors who miss out on the $10 pass and younger citizens not yet eligible can buy a $20 annual pass. If the senior keeps the pass after it expires, then buys other annual passes and saves them, when the total paid hits $80 the annual pass becomes a lifetime pass. Those who already have a lifetime senior pass will be grandfathered in.
Learn more at https://store.usgs.gov/senior-pass.