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Federal senior pass to increase sharply by next month

By Staff | Jul 26, 2017

Due to the Centennial Legislation that was passed in December, the price of the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass will increase from $10 to $80 Aug. 28.

People ages 62 and older are eligible for the pass which can be purchased at the “Ding” Darling Nature Store, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., cash only. To purchase the pass, a valid I.D. must be shown.

“They’ve been flying off the shelves,” J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland said.

The pass allows visitors free lifetime admission to 2,000 sites, parks and refuges like “Ding” Darling. The pass covers entrance, day-use and vehicle fees. Discounts for tours and campsites are provided as well.

Passes may also be purchased online or through the mail for an additional $10 processing fee. Passes purchased through the mail must be postmarked by Aug. 27 to obtain the $10 price. To purchase a pass online go to store.usgs.gov/senior-pass.

“It’s the best deal in the federal government,” Westland said. “Now is the time to get the pass. Especially if you want to visit those more expensive parks. It’s good for all federal lands.”

At parks that charge per-person fees, pass holders may bring three additional adults for free. Seniors still have the option to buy an annual pass for $20. Those who purchase an annual pass for four consecutive years may convert their annual to a lifetime pass at no additional charge.

“The passes are non-transferable. The person who signs the back of the card must be present,” Westland said.

This 700 percent price increase is targeted to improve visitor experience and provide more volunteer opportunities for refuges and parks and all over the nation. Before this spike in price, the senior pass hasn’t increased since 1994.