America the Beautiful is welcoming senior citizens with open arms. If youíre 62 or over, and a U. S. citizen, or a permanent resident, the America the Beautiful Ė National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is a super bargain. For just $10.00, pass holders can get in free at most U. S. national parks, forests, refuges, monuments, and recreation areas. And even better yet, the pass is good for a lifetime, and many benefits include your traveling companion(s) as well.
On a trip to the Badlands National Park in South Dakota last year, I used my pass twice, for a savings of thirty dollars. So, in one trip it paid for itself.
The pass is actually a collaboration of several participating Federal agencies: the National Park Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture - Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation. To the general public the pass costs $80.00 and has to be renewed annually. So you can see what a bargain the Senior Pass is at only $10.00 and good for a lifetime. While the general public pass can be purchased at a park, over the phone, or online, the senior pass can only be purchased in person at a park, or a regional office. Proof of age, such as a driverís license, is required at the time of purchase. The pass is nontransferable, and if itís lost you must purchase it again, but at $10.00 it would still be a bargain if you had to buy one every year.
You can buy a Senior Pass via mail order from USGS. Mail-order applicants must submit a completed application, proof of residency and age, the $20.00 ($10.00 fee for the Senior Pass, and an additional document processing fee ($10) to obtain a pass through the mail. Once the application package is received the documentation will be verified and a pass, with the pass owner's name pre-printed on it, will be issued to the applicant.
The pass can be used where per vehicle gate fees are charged for non-commercial vehicles. The pass holder and three additional adult passengers can get in with one pass. The Senior Pass is also good for 50% off on many facility fees and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch use, parking and tours. There are some instances where only the cardholder will get the discounted fee.
Here are ten of the most visited National Parks in America
∑ Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
∑ Grand Canyon, Arizona.
∑ Yosemite, California
∑ Olympic, Washington
∑ Yellowstone, Wyoming/Montana/ Idaho
∑ Rocky Mountain, Colorado
∑ Zion, Utah
∑ Cuyahoga Valley, Ohio
∑ Grand Teton, Wyoming
∑ Acadia, Maine
This website page answers many questins you may have about the pass including where you can purchase one:http://store.usgs.gov/pass/senior.html
The Forest Service, the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation honor the Senior Pass at sites where Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee(s) are charged.
◦Bureau of Land Management http://www.blm.gov
◦Bureau of Reclamation http://www.usbr.gov
◦Fish and Wildlife Service http://www.fws.gov
◦USDA Forest Service http://www.fs.fed.us
◦National Park Service http://www.nps.gov
In addition, the Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Valley Authority may honor the Senior Pass for entrance or camping discounts.
For former passes such as the Golden Eagle, Golden Age or Golden Access passes, some will be replaced free of charge and some will continue to be honored. Youíll have to contact the Park Service to find out the status of your existing pass. For more information about the National Parks Lifetime Senior pass you can visit http://www.nps.gov/fees_passes.htm, or call 1-888-275-8747 (ASK-USGS)