If you are over 62, one of the best travel benefits you can obtain is the Senior National Park Pass issued by the National Park Service. The America the Beautiful Senior Pass is one of several passes issued by the Park Service. The pass allows you free lifetime access to any National Park in the United States as well as public lands managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Forest Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers.  There are over 2,000 recreation sites managed by the federal government.

The National Park Pass does not cover additional fees the park may charge such as camping or concessionaire fees although you may receive a discount.  There are additional benefits to the pass.  In parks that charge a per-car entrance fee you are allowed to bring in up to three additional adults who may be in the car with you at no additional charge.

The cost of the pass used to be $10.  In 2017, the price was raised to $80, but it is still an incredible bargain.  If you possess the previous Golden Age Pass, it will still be honored and you don’t have to purchase the new pass.  In order to make the pass more affordable, you can buy an annual pass for $20.  If you purchase four annual passes you can turn them in for the lifetime pass.  This essentially allows you to spread the $80 cost over four years to make it more affordable. If you are permanently disabled, you qualify for the Access Pass which is free.

To purchase your pass, visit any park or federal,  recreation area visitor center.  You will need to show ID with proof of age and residency.  The pass can also be purchased online at the USGS store.  There is an additional $10 charge for processing.

The pass lets you see the wonders of the United States while also supporting a good cause.  Proceeds from the sale of the passes help fund the National Park Fund Endowment and the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund.  Both funds help preserve the parks for future generations.

CAUTION:  Once you obtain your card, you need to hang on to it. If you lose it or if it is stolen, you will have to purchase a new one

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