The senior pass allows lifetime access to more than 2,000 sites and parks throughout the country. Additional revenues from the fee increase will support critical maintenance projects at national parks and federal recreational lands nationwide, according to National Park Service officials.
In December 2016, Congress passed legislation requiring 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 price of the senior pass has been $10 since 1994, NPS officials said. U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are age 62 years or older can still purchase the lifetime pass for $10 before Aug. 28 at a national park or other federal recreation area that charges an entrance or standard amenity (day-use) fee. The pass can also be obtained by mail or online for $10 before the new rate goes into effect on Aug. 28, but an additional $10 processing charge will make the total cost of the pass $20. Due to expected high order volume, there could be delays with online and mail order processing of up to several months, the news release stated.
Golden Age Passports (the predecessor to senior passes) will be honored for the pass holder’s lifetime, as will all senior passes purchased prior to Aug. 28, officials said.
The senior pass covers all entrance fees and standard day-use fees and may provide discounts for a variety of things such as tours or campsites. The pass also waives the entrance fee for individuals traveling with the pass holder. At per-vehicle fee sites, the pass admits the pass holder and all passengers in a noncommercial vehicle. At per-person fee sites, the pass admits the pass holder and three other adults, while children under age 16 are always admitted free.
The senior pass can be used at sites managed by the National Park Service — including Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Hovenweep and Natural Bridges national monuments in southeast Utah — the 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.
“Revenues from passes are used to enhance the visitor experience and support priority projects and programs,” the news release stated.