The price to enjoy America’s great outdoors will be going up — at least for seniors.
Right now, Americans ages 62 and older can score a senior lifetime pass to national parks, monuments and other federal recreational lands for just $10. But according to AARP, the pass price is expected to jump to $80 — the same fee charged for a standard annual pass — later this year.
Although it’s unknown exactly when the fee hike will be implemented, the U.S. Department of the Interior says it does not expect changes to the senior pass price or program “within the next few months.”
AARP says the increased park fees will help pay for “major projects and enhanced services” on federally managed recreational lands.
Here are three ways to get a senior pass now before the price soars:
- Online: Older Americans can obtain a $10 senior pass online. Note that you’ll have to shell out $20 to get the pass, which includes the $10 lifetime pass and a $10 document processing fee.
- Paper: You can also fill out and submit a paper application to the government to get your pass to America’s great outdoors. It costs a total of $20, including the pass and the document processing fee.
- In-person: Seniors can also purchase a pass in person for $10 from a participating federal recreation site or office. If you get your pass this way, you don’t have to pay the $10 processing fee.
If you have a tight timeline and you need a pass within 15 days or less, the DOI recommends you either obtain the pass at the first site you visit, or simply request expedited shipping services on your order.
This is National Park Week, so the National Park Service is celebrating by waiving its entrance fees at parks this weekend, on April 22 and April 23. You can also score free entrance to parks on Aug. 25, Sept. 30 and Nov. 11-12.
If you’re the parent of a fourth-grader, your family gets free access to federally owned parks, lands and water through the Department of Interior’s “Every Kid In a Park” program. The program begun last fall expires Aug. 31.
What do you think of the planned rate hike for seniors at national parks? Sound off below or on Facebook.