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Old 02-16-2017, 10:58 PM
Location: Idaho
4,624 posts, read 4,462,694 times
Reputation: 9040


This has been mentioned frequently on the retirement forum, and was mentioned just today in another active thread. However, not everybody reads every thread, (I know that I don't). In the interest of disseminating this information to the widest possible audience of seniors here, I felt it deserves its own thread.

(Thanks to Hefe, StealthRabbit, and Aredhel for the information.)

What it is? A lifetime pass is available to everyone age 62 or older that provides free admission to all of the United States National Parks. In addition, it also includes admission to National Monuments and other federal recreation areas that charge an admission fee. The pass is good for up to four adults in a vehicle, no matter what their age. Going with two cars? The pass is only good for the car that contains the authorized owner of the pass.

The pass has been called by different names at different times. It is colloquially referred to as the "Senior Pass".

How much does it cost? Currently, it costs $10.00, per pass, ($20 if purchased by mail). However, soon the cost of the pass will increase to $80.00. Note: I could not find any 'official government' web site that indicates the date the increase will be effective and commercial web sites only say "soon". In his post in the other thread, StealthRabbit indicated the fee will be effective on June 30, 2017, but I could not confirm this independently.

If you were to lose your pass, you will have to purchase another, at the current rate. There is talk about a yearly Senior Pass available for $20.00, with that price applicable to the lifetime pass if one decided to purchase one later.

Where can I get one? 1.) Via snail-mail from the United States Geological Survey, (USGS). https://store.usgs.gov/pass/senior.html or 2.) most USFS, NPS, and BLM offices. Be sure to call first to verify that they sell them. (I purchased mine from an obscure USFS office in Acton, CA.)

Where Can I use it? Any National Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Bureau of Reclamation facility that charge an entrance or Standard Amenity Fee, (Day Use fee). Not accepted at state parks, (but I usually hold it up and ask anyway. Might get lucky sometime).

From personal experience, some places where there is not a 'manned kiosk' to take your money, you need to leave your pass on your dashboard when parked within the facility.

- - -

To those of us who are U.S. citizens, this is one of the most fantastic benefits of reaching 'seniorhood'. It is our reward for enduring life to this point. Get one! Even if you don't plan to use it more than once, and not for many years, you won't find a better bargain anywhere. Just be careful to not lose it! I keep mine in a little metal business/credit card holder that is in the door pocket of my car. Having been made aware of the price increase, I'm going to see if I can get another one and keep it with my passport case or some other secure location. Just in case I lose the first one.


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Last edited by volosong; 02-16-2017 at 11:10 PM..
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:35 AM
2,593 posts, read 5,288,316 times
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> To those of us who are U.S. citizens

Green card holders too. At least for now.
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Old 02-17-2017, 12:00 PM
Location: Albuquerque NM
1,659 posts, read 1,522,722 times
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I don't turn 62 until 10 weeks after the deadline. Please keep us posted in case the date changes. Since NPS is a federal agency, you would think the rates would increase at the beginning of the new fiscal year - October 1 - not July 1.
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Old 02-17-2017, 12:09 PM
Location: Somewhere in deep in Maine
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Since I live in a National Park, I have mine.
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Old 02-17-2017, 12:34 PM
6,566 posts, read 1,348,237 times
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Thanks so much, Volosong!!!

However, when I clicked on the link you so helpfully provided, the following message came up. I wonder if there is a surge in people asking for them?!

Overview of the Senior PassPass Use | Benefits
Message Center:
Please note that we do not expect changes to the Senior pass price or program within the next few months. Further information on changes to the Senior pass price and program will be coming soon.
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Old 02-18-2017, 02:39 AM
Location: Northern VA
512 posts, read 631,774 times
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You can get a free Access Pass at any age if you have a documented permanent disability. As a disabled veteran I received mine when I was 49.

What is the Access Pass?
A free, lifetime pass - available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States that have been medically determined to have a permanent disability (does not have to be a 100% disability) - that provides admittance to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by five Federal agencies.
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:28 AM
Location: Hiding from Antifa?
6,402 posts, read 4,174,894 times
Reputation: 5705
There are some roads that pass through such recreational areas that you may need to traverse to get from Point A to Point B. You may have to pay the entrance fee just to use the road. One such place is near Springdale, Utah. You have to pass through Zion NP to get to points east/northeast of Springdale. Chances are you are on your way to another rec area, such as Bryce Canyon or the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and you will need the pass anyway.

Another example is Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway. You can pass through E-W but if you want to take a scenic drive for a short portion, you might have to pay.
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:43 AM
Location: Center City
6,852 posts, read 7,799,244 times
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Here is the latest I could find on the implementation date:

"Katherine Belcher, spokeswoman for the Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska, said the change takes affect later this year or early in 2018, so $10 senior passes are still available."
Park Service increases senior pass cost by 800 percent | Outdoors | tdn.com

(Don't blame me for the misuse of the word "affect" rather than "effect." )
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Old 02-18-2017, 11:07 AM
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,394 posts, read 9,139,362 times
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But even at $80 it is still worth it. Pays for itself after a few visits. For those who camp in Natioal Forests, fees are halved to pass holders.
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Old 02-18-2017, 03:43 PM
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,316 posts, read 4,154,596 times
Reputation: 18308
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
But even at $80 it is still worth it. Pays for itself after a few visits.
Absolutely! Not being 62 yet, I pay $80 a year for my annual pass, and consider it money well spent. But anyone who turns 62 prior to the price going up should grab the pass at its current price while they still can. If $80 for a lifetime pass is a good deal, $10 is an absolute STEAL!
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