NEWS FEATURES‎ > ‎

National parks fee to be hiked

posted Jun 16, 2017, 1:20 PM by Wayne Wieseler   [ updated Jun 16, 2017, 1:30 PM ]

Cost of lifetime passes for seniors on the rise

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,’” Park Service Spokeswoman Kathy Kupper said. “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.