National Parks Senior Pass Price Rises, Limited Availability

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2017 Senior PassThe amount of people buying a $10 National Parks senior pass before the price increases on August 28 has created a shortage of passes available in parts of Upstate New York.

Citing “requirements set by legislation passed by Congress in December 2016,” the National Parks Service is increasing the price of the America the Beautiful-National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass from $10 to $80. Pass holders are given lifetime access to more than 2,000 sites and parks. 

Parks are encouraging people to call ahead to make sure passes are in stock. Fort Stanwix National Monument, Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, Saratoga National Historical Park, and Women’s Rights National Historical Park do not carry the passes.  The historic homes that make up the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites in Hyde Park, New York do carry the passes. Call the visitor center at (845) 229-9115 to confirm the passes are in stock.

The pass can be purchased for $10 before August 28 at a national park or other Federal recreation area that charges an entrance or standard day use fee. The pass can also be obtained by mail or online, for $10 before August 28 but there will be an additional $10 charge for processing, for a total of $20. Due to expected high order volume, there could be delays with online and mail order processing of up to several months, but purchases before August 28 are guaranteed the $10 price.

The Senior Pass has cost $10 since 1994. Until August 28, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are 62 years or older can purchase the lifetime Senior Pass for $10. Previously purchased lifetime Golden Age or Senior Passes will be honored for the lifetime of the pass holder.

The Senior Pass can be used at sites managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Funds from passes are used to enhance the visitor experience and support priority projects and programs.

The legislation requires that the price of the lifetime Senior Pass be the same as the Interagency Annual Pass, which is currently $80. The legislation also introduces a new annual Senior Pass that can be purchased for $20. Seniors who purchase annual Senior Passes for four years can trade them in for a lifetime Senior Pass at no additional charge.

The Senior Pass covers all entrance fees and standard day use fees and may provide senior discounts for things such as tours or campsites. The pass also waives the entrance fee for traveling companions. At per-vehicle fee sites, the pass admits the pass holder and all passengers in a noncommercial vehicle. At a per-person fee site, the pass admits the pass holder and three other adults. Children under 16 are always admitted free.

For more information about the National Park Service, visit their website.

Photo: 2017 Senior Pass.

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