by Mark Albert
A bison herd in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park; courtesy: U.S. National Park Service
WASHINGTON (TVR) – The cost of a lifetime pass at United States National Parks has now jumped 700%.
As of this week, the cost of a National Parks Senior Pass septupled—spiking 700% from $10 to $80.
It’s the first increase of any kind since 1994 to the Senior Pass, which allows unlimited, lifetime access to America’s national parks and up to 50% off some amenity fees for senior citizens 62 years of age and older.
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The National Park Service (NPS) says hiked the cost to generate additional revenue which will be used “to enhance the visitor experience in parks.”
NPS blames the move on Congress, which passed Centennial Legislation requiring the Senior Pass be equal to the cost of the Lands Pass, which is currently $80 per year.
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Fees will be waived for everyone on the next two Free Entrance Days, which are Veterans Day weekend, Nov 11 and 12.
Entrance fees at the 30% of national parks that charge them generally range from between $3-$30.
Free Entrance Days waive entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees, the U.S. National Park Service says.
However, “reservation, camping, tours, concession, and fees collected by third parties,” are still assessed.
The legislation also established a new annual Senior Pass for $20.
The National Park Service does offer discounts to certain groups of people year-round.
For example, fourth graders get a free annual pass through the Every Kid in a Park program.
In addition, active duty military members as well as people with a permanent disability are also eligible for free annual passes.
Discounted or free passes are also available for volunteers.
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