The Denver Post - - NEWS -

IDAHO» Se­niors are snap­ping BOISE, up so many life­time passes for U.S. na­tional parks and other recre­ation ar­eas be­fore a steep price in­crease this month that some gov­ern­ment agen­cies have run out and started is­su­ing vouch­ers.

The Amer­ica the Beau­ti­ful Life­time Se­nior Pass has been avail­able to buy­ers 62 and older for $10 for the past two decades. On Aug. 28, the price is go­ing up 700 per­cent, to $80, af­ter a mea­sure passed by Congress late last year.

Re­cently re­tired Paul Dun­ham of Yuba City, Calif., picked one up last week at Craters of the Moon Na­tional Mon­u­ment and Pre­serve in cen­tral Idaho.

“I said, ‘Hey, I’m a se­nior. Any de­cent rates?’ ” he said, ex­pect­ing to pay $30 for a day visit to the high-desert area known for its an­cient lava flows.

In­stead, for $10 he got the life­time se­nior pass that’s rec­og­nized at more than 2,000 recre­ation ar­eas run by six fed­eral agen­cies that in­clude the Na­tional Park Ser­vice, U.S. For­est Ser­vice and U.S. Bu­reau of Land Man­age­ment.

“I don’t say many thanks to the U.S. gov­ern­ment about any­thing,” Dun­ham, 64, said af­ter dis­cov­er­ing the deal. “But I will this time.”

Out-of-the-way Craters of the Moon still has the life­time passes, but other ar­eas that draw more visi­tors have run out, and of­fi­cials au­tho­rized a rain check pol­icy in mid-July. The pol­icy al­lows peo­ple to use vouch­ers in­stead of the life­time passes, and ul­ti­mately ex­change them for one of the plas­tic, credit-card-size se­nior passes when they be­come avail­able.

Some sites nor­mally sell only a few hun­dred passes a year, Tom Crosson, the Na­tional Parks Ser­vice’s chief of pub­lic af­fairs, said. “Now, they are sell­ing that many in a day.”

Agen­cies ex­pect to sell up to 2 mil­lion of the passes by this fall, two to three times what was sold last year. On­line and mail or­ders in 2016 were about 33,000 but have sur­passed 250,000 this year and are ex­pected to surge past 300,000 by the price dead­line. Pass hold­ers driv­ing into ar­eas with en­trance fees can bring in trav­el­ing com­pan­ions for free. At some ar­eas, the pass in­cludes 50 per­cent dis­counts on camp­ing, boat launch­ing and other ameni­ties.

Money raised by the price hike is in­tended for projects and pro­grams aimed at en­hanc­ing the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence at na­tional parks and other ar­eas.

Matt York, The As­so­ci­ated Press

The cost of a life­time se­nior na­tional parks pass will rise from $10 to $80 on Aug. 28.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.