Here’s a fact that will impress your friends: there are 417 national parks in the U.S., comprising more than 84 million acres of some of the most magnificent scenery on earth. And here’s an even more pertinent fact: if you’re a US citizen or permanent resident, age 62 or older, you can buy a pass for just $10 that will get you into all those parks – for the rest of your life.
Yes, just ten bucks buys you a lifetime Senior Pass to America’s unparalleled national parks. It’s definitely one of the best travel bargains for seniors that we’ve ever heard about. But you need to act soon to take advantage of that remarkable deal, because sometime later in 2017 the price is going to skyrocket to $80.
We found several articles recently talking about how the days of the $10 Senior Pass are numbered, even though the price hike has been in the news for months. This article from the AARP website appeared late in 2016, describing the Senior Pass and advising people to act before the cost goes up sometime later in 2017. But for some reason several news sites including local television stations and newspapers are just now picking up the story, perhaps because the summer travel season is just around the corner.
Why the price hike? It’s due to a new regulation signed into law last December by outgoing President Obama called the National Park Service Centennial Act. Our national parks are so popular, with record crowds year after year, that the trails, lodges and other park facilities are in urgent need of repair and upkeep due to age and overuse. This article from a website called National Parks Traveler explains that the parks maintenance backlog is now over $12 billion and climbing. In fiscal year 2015 the National Park Service sold almost 580,000 Senior Passes, charging the same $10 fee that was originally implemented back in 1994 and never increased. With so many baby boomers reaching retirement age and eager to travel, the National Park Service felt the necessity to hike the price of the pass in order to generate extra revenue that could top $40 million annually.
If you weren’t convinced about the value of the Senior Pass, let’s consider a few of the benefits it offers. That $10 Senior Pass not only buys you lifetime admission to all our national parks, but it also gives you access to more than 2,000 recreation sites across America that are managed by other federal agencies including the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. You also get a discount on federal use fees charged at many parks for camping, swimming, boat launching, parking and tours. As one article explains, in those National Parks that charge a “per vehicle” entrance fee, the Senior Pass admits you and the passengers in your private vehicle. In those National Parks that charge a “per person” entrance fee, the Senior Pass admits you plus three other adults. These extra three guests don’t have to be seniors, which represents an especially good deal if you’re traveling with grandchildren. That’s because children under 16 are admitted free.
So have we convinced you that the Senior Pass should be on your shopping list? We hope so, but there’s one more thing you have to know: to get the best price, you not only have to act soon, you need to make your purchase in person. Buy online and the price is higher.
This link to the National Park Service website tells you how and where to buy your Senior Pass (and all other Park Service passes). The important thing to know is that, if you buy your pass online or by mail, the price doubles to $20 – still a bargain, we admit. The $10 price is only available when you buy your pass in person at one of the many facilities, including most national parks, that sell them. The NPS website includes a link to a list of every place in the country where Senior Passes are sold, including several here in Washington State. So click the link, find a location near you, buy your pass and get out and enjoy the most spectacular scenery anywhere.
Here at AgingOptions we want our clients and friends to enjoy a rich and rewarding retirement. That’s why we work with them to develop what we call a LifePlan. Think of it as a “lifetime pass” to a secure, fruitful future for aging seniors! A LifePlan is unique because, unlike many so-called retirement plans that concentrate solely on financial health, our approach includes facets that many planners overlook: your housing preferences, for example, and your legal protection. We also help you ensure that you’ve planned adequately for your medical insurance needs. Then we work with you to make certain your family is informed about – and supportive of – your wishes and desires as you age. A LifePlan is a comprehensive approach like no other.
There’s an easy way to learn more about LifePlanning. Sign up for one of our highly popular LifePlanning Seminars, offered free of charge at locations throughout the region. In just a few hours you’ll learn vital information that we assure you will aid you in planning for your own retirement future. Click here for details and online registration, or call us during the week so we can answer your questions and register you by phone. It will be our pleasure to meet you at a LifePlanning Seminar soon.