Cost of lifetime passes for seniors on the rise
by William E. Gibson, AARP | December 20, 2016
Older people can expect a big jump sometime next year in the fee for a
lifetime pass to visit national parks, as part of a larger move to pay
for major projects and enhanced services.
The fee for a lifetime pass for citizens 62 and older will go from $10
to $80. An annual pass will cost them $20, which they can apply to the
cost of a lifetime pass at a later point if they decide they want one.
But if you get a lifetime pass before the change is implemented, it
will cost only $10. Passes can be purchased online for an additional
service fee of $10 or at any of the parks without an extra charge.
National Park Service officials are unsure how long it will take to
implement the change, but it’s expected before the end of 2017.
Meantime, they are spreading the word informally.
“We don’t want anyone to feel blindsided and say, ‘Why didn’t anyone
tell us about this,’” said Kathy Kupper, a Park Service spokeswoman.
“We don’t know whether we’ll get any pushback. It [the higher fee] is
still a great deal.”
Earlier this month, Congress approved legislation, the National Park
Service Centennial Act, that raises fees and sets up an endowment to
help pay for projects and visitor services. The cost of the senior
pass has not been increased since 1994, when it jumped to $10.
The move is intended to improve the visitor experience and provide
more opportunities to volunteer in parks across the country.