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National Parks Discount Passes
Including Senior Pass, Annual Pass, Access Pass, and Volunteer Pass
Author: David Smidt, SeniorDiscounts

Perhaps one of the greatest discounts available to older Americans comes from the National Parks and Federal Recreation Departments. Recently, there have been some proposed changes to the discounts available at National Parks, Monuments and historic sites, but it does not look like these changes will take affect this year and the significant discounts will still be offered. Consider visiting these areas this summer as it can be a great way to vacation without spending lots of money.

National Parks Discount Passes

The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass series, which includes the following agencies; National Park Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture - Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation, collectively known as the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, is shown below with a brief explanation of each.

America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass
Senior Pass. - Cost $10

This is a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over. The pass provides access to, and use of, Federal recreation sites that charge an Entrance or Standard Amenity. The pass admits the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas and pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per person fee areas (children under 16 are admitted free). The pass can only be obtained in person at the park. The Senior Pass provides a 50 percent discount on some Expanded Amenity Fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services. In some cases where Expanded Amenity Fees are charged, only the pass holder will be given the 50 percent price reduction. The pass is non-transferable and generally does NOT cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessionaires.

America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass
Annual Pass - Cost $80

This pass is available to the general public and provides access to, and use of, Federal recreation sites that charge an Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee for a year, beginning from the date of sale. The pass admits the pass holder/s and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas and pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per person fee areas. (Children under 16 are admitted free) The pass can be obtained in person at the park, by calling 1-888-ASK USGS, Ext. 1, or via the Internet at http://store.usgs.gov/pass.

America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass
Access Pass – Free

This is a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities. Documentation is required to obtain the pass. Acceptable documentation includes: statement by a licensed physician; document issued by a Federal agency such as the Veteran’s Administration, Social Security Disability Income or Supplemental Security Income; or document issued by a State agency such as a vocational rehabilitation agency. The pass provides access to, and use of, Federal recreation sites that charge an Entrance or Standard Amenity. The pass admits the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas and pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per person fee areas (children under 16 are admitted free). The pass can only be obtained in person at the park. The Access Pass provides a 50 percent discount on some Expanded Amenity Fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and specialized interpretive services. In some cases where Expanded Amenity Fees are charged, only the pass holder will be given the 50 percent price reduction. The pass is non-transferable and generally does NOT cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessionaires.

America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass
Volunteer Pass – Free

This pass is for volunteers acquiring 500 service hours on a cumulative basis. It provides access to, and use of, Federal recreation sites that charge an Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee for a year, beginning from the date of award. The pass admits the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas and pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per person fee areas (children under 16 are admitted free).

Former pass program passes:

Golden Eagle Passport and National Parks Pass and Golden Eagle Hologram
These passes have been discontinued and replaced by the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass– Annual Pass.

Golden Age Passport
This pass has been discontinued and replaced by the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass– Senior Pass

Golden Access Passport
This pass has been discontinued and replaced by the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass– Access Pass

All National Parks Passes, Golden Eagle, Golden Eagle Hologram, Golden Access and Golden Age Passports will continue to be honored according to the provisions of the pass. Only paper Golden Age and Access Passports may be exchanged free of charge for new plastic passes.

This information and more is available at the National Parks web site located at: http://www.nps.gov/fees_passes.htm.

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