The America The Beautiful Senior Pass lifetime fee is going up in 2017. The lifetime pass, for U.S. Citizens age 62 and over, has been $10 since 1994, but is increasing to $80. There is no definitive effective date yet, but the increase is expected to be implemented sometime in 2017.
This Pass gives the pass holder and all passengers in a non-commercial vehicle free access to federal parks where a "per vehicle" entrance fee is required. At parks where a "per person" fee is charged, free access is granted to the pass holder and up to three additional adults.
The Pass also gives the pass holder a 50% discount on many "Expanded Amenity Fees" including camping on federal park land. Note the discounts are handled differently from park to park and it may not always be 50%, but that has been the usual discount over the years.
The new provisions allow for a $20 Annual Senior Pass. You can save your receipts and apply the cost of annual passes to the cost of a lifetime pass. In other words, if you pay for four annual passes and save your receipts, you can exchange the receipts for a lifetime pass.
So, if you are age 62 or over now and don't have your lifetime Senior Pass, be sure to get one very soon. And if you are turning 62 in 2017, hopefully you can pick up a $10 pass before they increase to $80.
You can purchase online (there is an additional $10 processing fee) or you can buy a pass at many federal park sites. For more details about the pass check out this web page: Overview Of The Senior Pass.
Note that the National Park Service is taking an informal approach to getting the word out, but AARP and NationalParksTraveler.com have recently reported the plans for the increase. I expect there will be a lot of push back from seniors, so we'll just have to see whether the price increase is actually implemented as planned. In any case, we just wanted to give everyone a "heads up".