Lifetime Senior Pass at National Parks to Increase 700% Monday

August 24, 2017, 2:53 PM HST · Updated August 25, 3:35 PM
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The National Park Service’s Lifetime Senior Pass is in very high demand. Since 1994, a lifetime senior pass only cost $10 and granted entry, including three adults in their car, to every National Park across the country.

Starting Aug. 28, the lifetime senior pass at National Parks will increase to $80. Photo Courtesy Haleakala National Park.

Starting Monday, Aug. 28, the lifetime pass will cost $80, a 700% increase, due to legislation passed by Congress in December 2016.

The bill was passed to raise money for National Park Service projects and programs. The National Park Service estimates that $37.6 million generated from senior passes will be used for maintenance and improving visitor facilities.

The pass, for seniors ages 62 and older, will now cost the same as an annual America The Beautiful pass for those under the age of 62.

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The National Park Service says that more than 250,000 requests have been submitted online and by mail this year to retrieve the lifetime passes, which is seven times higher than the previous record of requests of 33,000 in a single year.

Maui Now called Haleakalā National Park to see if they’ve noticed a big demand. “Oh yes, definitely,” said one worker in a confident tone.

That worker, Dave, was right. Charles Lassiter, park ranger and acting chief of interpretation at Haleakalā National Park said there was an 89% increase in demand for the senior pass in July of 2017, compared to July 2016 at Haleakalā.

“We certainly have entertained a lot of phone calls, and we just let them know to come on up and get the pass,” he said.

Although it is a big increase, Lassiter says it’s still the best deal out there, “it’s a fantastic deal, we’re talking $80 one-time to gain access to every National Park in the country.”

Some parks like Yosemite, Death Valley, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon have an entrance fee close to $30.

The senior pass gives the holder plus three vehicle passengers unlimited entry to more than 2,000 sites managed by the Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Seniors will also have the option of purchasing an annual senior pass for $20, which can be traded for a lifetime pass if purchased four years in a row.

Want to skip the long journey to the crater or to Kīpahulu to obtain a last-minute pass? You can still purchase the $10 pass online or by mail, however, the processing time is almost three months and costs an additional $10 for processing, and it must be placed before 5:59 p.m. HST (11:59 p.m. EST) on Aug. 27.

The National Parks website says that due to the major increase in Senior pass sales, that until the current backlog of passes are shipped, an order confirmation will be honored for use at sites with a Photo ID.

Lassiter says you can purchase the $10 pass at the park on the 27th, but recommends doing so before the park attendant leaves the booth for the day.

Seniors can send in an application for a pass by mail, with $10 for the park pass and another $10 for a processing fee. All mail-in applications must be postmarked before Aug. 28.

Send in an application online by clicking here. The online application also costs $20 due to a processing fee. It too must be completed before Aug. 28.


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