Get your new National Park Senior Pass before prices increase eightfold

Composite image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — As the result of recent legislation sponsored by a Utah representative, the cost of a lifetime “America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass” will increase for the first time since 1994.

Starting Aug. 28, the cost of a lifetime Senior Pass will increase from $10 to $80, the same cost as a regular annual America the Beautiful pass. This increase stems from the “National Park Service Centennial Act,” sponsored by Utah First Congressional District Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Ogden.

The act also established an annual Senior Pass that can be purchased for $20 and is good for 12 months after issuance. Additionally, four annual senior passes that have been purchased in prior years can be traded in for a lifetime pass. Current senior passes are considered “lifetime passes” and will remain valid.

According to the National Park Service, the additional revenue from this price increase will be used to enhance the visitor experience. Funds collected will go into the National Park Foundation Endowment and a National Park Centennial Challenge Fund, both authorized by the National Park Service Centennial Act. Per the National Park Service website:

The first $10 million collected by the National Park Service in each fiscal year from Senior Pass sales will be deposited in the Second Century Endowment for the National Park Service managed by the National Park Foundation. The foundation is the congressionally authorized philanthropic partner, or official charity, of the National Park Service. Funds within the Second Century Endowment will be expended on projects and activities approved by the Secretary of Interior to further the mission and purpose of the National Park Service.

All revenues collected from sales by the National Park Service of National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Passes, including the Senior Pass, that are in excess of $10 million will be deposited in the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund. The funds will be used for projects and programs approved by the Secretary of the Interior to the mission of the National Park Service and to enhance the visitor experience in National Park System units. Projects and programs will require at least a one-to-one match by non-federal donations.

The annual and lifetime senior passes are available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents over the age of 62 with valid proof of age and residency. Passes provide cover entrance and standard amenity (day-use) recreation fees to more than 2,000 and provide discounts on some expanded amenity recreation sites managed by six federal agencies, including:

  • National Park Service.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Bureau of Land Management.
  • Bureau of Reclamation.
  • U.S. Forest Service.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Senior passes can be purchased at any federal recreation site, including national parks, that charges an entrance or standard amenity fee. For a complete listing of sites by state, click here.

Passes may also be purchased online or through the mail for an additional $10 processing fee at the U.S. Geological Survey website.


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  • Foxyheart July 20, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Enhance the park experience? Nothing will be enhanced, all will be restricted. Thanks to the NPS advertising the parks, there have been increases in visitation that have done anything than enhance the experience. Pretty soon the locals will have no way to visit the park.

  • utahdiablo July 20, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    You can thank Obama for the rate hike folks, he signed this into law in late 2016…..just a nice scew you seniors ( as these are the only people it affects ) on his way out….

  • The Dude July 21, 2017 at 5:45 am

    So the first 10mil goes into an endowment. Kind of like the lock box my social security goes in. I think an old Who song comes to mind on this one. Dont try to fool me again.

  • vintagehippie July 21, 2017 at 9:14 am

    I think you can bet that a large portion of the proceeds from this fee increase will go to increased advertising by the NPS which will lead to even more visitation. Just like in any other enterprise, if you can “grow” the job you get paid more.

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