There's going to be a significant increase in the purchase price of the Senior Pass from $10 to $80.
For those who may not be aware, U.S. citizens age 62 or older are able to purchase a lifetime pass from a federal recreation site. The pass grants the holder and up to 3 additional adults in the car free admission to National Parks and Monuments and wildlife refuges in the U.S. and 1/2 price camping in the parks and most federal lands such as BLM, COE, TVA, etc. A few state parks (non-federal) also offer camping discounts to holders of this pass as a courtesy.
The cost has been only $10 for many years and with the entry fee at many National Parks exceeding this one time charge, the pass has been a no-brainer. While $80 seems steep and targets seniors, the reality is that it is still a bargain for one who will visit a few parks and monuments and possibly use the campgrounds.
The pass can still be obtained for $10 in person or there is an additional fee to order one online. No date has been specified when the increase will hit, nor has the incoming administration indicated it will repeal the recently signed National Park Service Centennial Act.
WOW... I am glad I got mine last year.
For $10 it was a real bargain.
I have had one for several years and have only used it a time or two, but it was still a bargain for $10. I wonder if they will expire existing cards and make us buy a new one.
This pass is supposed to be for life. Yes, I know.... There is no indication that the higher cost pass will obsolete the current one. This Senior Pass superseded the former Golden Age Pass, but did not obsolete it.
Last year we made a road trip that included Capulin National Monument, Rocky Mountain Nat Park, The Tetons, Yellowstone, Little Bighorn Nat Monument and Devil's Tower Nat Monument. This pass saved us well over $200 in entrance and camping fees at just those places.
We went out west about 3 years ago and used this pass for entrance to Glacier, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, The Badlands, Crater Lake, Death Valley and several other places. I figure that we saved about $180.00 because of the pass. We drove out to Seattle in June and on the way back we drove through Yellowstone again. Another $20.00 bucks saved. This a great value and I would recommend that anyone over the age of 62 buy one.
I got mine back in 2008. On several occasions, I've taken 6 adults in my minivan into a park at no additional fee. I wasn't aware there is a 3 passenger limit. Is this a new regulation?
It's always been the restriction. It may not be enforced all the time.
The older Golden Age Passport had no passenger limit, I believe. The Senior Pass replacement that came out in 2007 states on the back of the card: "pass holder and occupants of single, private, non-commercial vehicle OR one motorcycle; pass holder and three persons (16 and older) where per person fees are charged."
When we were signing in at the Tetons, our friends had a Golden Age Passport and the ranger commented that my friend could bring in a van load, but I could only bring in 3 additional adults (16 and under are always free). The way I interpret the statement on the back of the card including the ; is that as a driver, I could bring in 4, 5, 6 adults, maybe more if there were seat belts for everyone. I guess it all depends if there is a vehicle entry fee or an entry fee by headcount. I guess we need to ask a lawyer the significance of the ; in the wording. Unless the ranger is having a bad day, I think they would just wave you on in most cases.
Here is the link for the official USGS application form: https://store.usgs.gov/pass/senior_pass_application.pdf
It's always been the restriction. It may not be enforced all the time.
I eased myself from full employment to retirement by being a seasonal worker for a few years, mostly with the NPS which included some time as a fee collector. The Senior Pass available to any US citizen or Green Card permanent resident age 62+ is (I think still) as follows:
Senior Pass Use
Who is admitted with a Senior Pass?
The Senior Pass admits pass owner/s and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas and pass owner + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, where per-person fees are charged. (Children under 16 are always admitted free.)
Note: Photo identification will be requested to verify pass ownership.
If I have more than four people in my car, how many passes do I need?
One pass covers the vehicle at sites that charge "per vehicle". At "per person" sites, the applicable fee will be charged for each additional person.
So at the Grand Canyon for instance, a single, private, noncommercial vehicle with family or friends is charged a $30/vehicle entry fee if no passenger has a pass. One passenger with a Senior Pass or who buys a Senior Pass will allow entry of the entire load of passengers into the park. But at a site charging per person, one senior with a Senior Pass will cover the pass holder plus three additional adults over 16 and remaining adult passengers will pay the per person fee. The back side of the Senior Pass gives more info on this.
Here are the various passes available now:
I have had the Golden Age Passport for for more years than I can remember besides Federal parks and campgrounds it covers boat launch fees or discounted launch fees at many sites.
Several states do not recognize the passes for their parks while some states have there own passes. Florida I know for sure.
I got mine a couple of years ago. I've only used twice, but it's already paid for itself.
Wife turn 62 next month, had mine for 7 years, saved a bunch!
Thanks for the heads-up on this. I have had mine for a year, and my wife is now qualified to get one of her own. She has not seen any real reason to get her own, but this increase changes that.
I got mine in 2008 while visiting Yellowstone, planning on using again this year on out trek west.
I've had a Golden Age pass for more years than I like to think about.
However, this thread made me realize that we took a LONG trip the last time we went to a National Park, and were so tired when we returned home that I just walked through the front door and dumped everything in a corner to be cleaned up later.
I have no idea what was done with the Golden Age pass when we did clean up.
- Tom -
Used a few times. Already saved what we paid and then some.
Nice thing to have.
Of course, it is easy for me to say since I already have had on for quite a few years. Even so, if you travel much, the pass would pay for itself quickly, and it is for LIFE. That's still a bargain and it helps support our valuable nation parks.
It appears that the current administration may withdraw support by freezing wages, which will include national parks. Hopefully not, some of the national park funds are already struggling to keep up.
I would hate for the Senior pass to become a yearly fee pass, but that would not surprise me now.
We can take nothing for granted.
I lost ours for over a year and bought another one, Not a replacement, a new card. Later I found the lost one, so now I keep both, just in case.
I recommend that you get another card before the increase, if there is still time.
- Tom -
Pass will not expire until you do.
You can order it online as well:
Glad that this thread reminded me that I had purchased a Senior Pass several years ago. Now I need to go out and use it.
Can this pass be used in NY (More specific, nyc and surrounding areas -Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Si, etc.)
Also any places in Washington DC?
If So, where?
Specifically it is for US Fish & Wildlife Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation for sites that charge an entry fee. Some historic monuments such as Castle Clinton and the Statue of Liberty in NY don't have an entrance fee so the card is not needed at these places. The Washington Monument in DC is another that is free as an example. Some free and fee sites may have Expanded Amenity Fees and the card does not usually cover these.
My wife and I each have one. It was cheap and, as you said, a no brainer. Usually we only need one but there have been times when we needed both of them. For instance when we visited Oregon Caves I paid the reduced price but my wife had left her purse locked in the trunk and didn't get the discount as they wanted one per person.
At the new price we wouldn't have each purchased one but we would definitely purchase a single pass. At the time we got them we figured the price was low and why not kick down the extra little bit to help out the Forest Service. It's always short of money. It's easy to understand the increase.
I got mine more than a decade ago!!!
Active and Reserve Military and their dependants can get a FREE Annual Pass. Veterans with a disability can get a FREE Lifetime Access Pass. On my last visit to Carlsbad Caverns NP, all I had to do was show my VA Medical ID card to get my Access Pass. I'm very grateful!
Active and Reserve Military and their dependants can get a FREE Annual Pass. Veterans with a disability can get a FREE Lifetime Access Pass...
The Access Pass is free to any US citizen or Permanent Resident of the USA with a permanent disability, not just veterans:
Yesterday warmed to the 40s and I knew would be a quiet winter weekday visit to avoids the crowds while still seeing lots of snow in the Canyon.
At the entrance station, rather than show my Senior Pass, I bought a second one. If I never lose my 1st pass, I consider this a $10 donation to the NPS. If I do lose my first pass some day, I'll be $70 (or more someday?) ahead by having bought my second pass while it was still $10. The Fee Collector did volunteer that I should not lose the newly purchased pass because prices will be going up this year.
I do wonder how many other Seniors have done this.
I am planning on getting the pass for the $10. Could come in handy in my upcoming retirement.
I've had a pass for several years and consider it one of the few benefits of getting older
I'll recommend to some friends before the price goes up.
Aren't you glad your tax bill is decreasing - so that you can pay more in fees. I'm waiting for the middle class to go on strike and stop buying anything. Then we will see who actually controls things. That will make the top 1% shutter - they own those companies who will no longer have revenue either directly or with stock. Can you say market crash?
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