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Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series
This is a public service message for anyone age 62 or older … or such a person’s friend or loved one.
Get your National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass!
This may not be news to anyone else, but I was surprised to learn what a great deal it is. Maybe I was also shocked because I didn’t think of myself as being old enough.
Here’s the deal.
If you are 62 years old and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you can get a lifetime pass to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites for a cost of $10.
Ten bucks and it’s good for the rest of your life.
Not just you, either, but up to three other adults if you’re in the same car.
Did I say $10? And that it’s good for the rest of your life?
Treat it like cash. Lose it and you’ll have to buy another. Also, you must have it on you when you enter the site; there is no computer database where they can look to see if you have purchased a card.
Here’s the catch.
Get it soon.
The lady working the counter at Fort Davis National Historic Site who quickly convinced me to buy one (“It will cost $14 for the two of you to enter or you can get a Senior Pass for $10 and get in free for the rest of your life,” she said.) warned that there are changes in store.
She said the pass will still be available but the price will go up to $80. That’s still a good deal, but $10 is a lot better.
I wrote the National Park Service to verify her assertions and Traci gave me a few details.
The increase was approved in December 2016 to make the Lifetime Senior Pass the same price as the Annual Pass, which currently costs $80. So, the Senior Pass will change along with the Annual Pass.
However, the date to implement this change has not been set. She said it may be in 3-6 months.
It is definitely going up, probably later this year.
Like I said earlier … get it now.
Is it worth it?
Living in Texas, with only two national parks – Big Bend NP and Guadalupe Mountains NP, both way out in West Texas – the value of a national parks pass is certainly questionable for someone who doesn’t plan to travel cross-country.
However, this interagency pass covers more than 2,000 sites, including entrance fees and day use fees at national wildlife refuges, national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Now, that’s something we have a lot of in Texas – Corps of Engineers lakes.
Keep in mind that the government is involved, so there may be exceptions.
Oh, I also have noticed that some locations have special offers, such as half-price camping, which has been confirmed by friends.
For a list of places that sell the passes, click here.
For more information about all the NPS passes, click here. Scroll down to the Senior Pass section and there are links to help you buy online or by mail. However, those also carry a $10 service charge.
Get out there and see our beautiful America.