Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

When Haste Saves Money

The country has plenty worth getting out and seeing.

The country has plenty worth getting out and seeing.


Thanks to an Escapees Club newsletter I received, I can update you on our government at work. As the great humorist Will Rogers claimed, “This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.”

If you are age 62 or more, congratulations. Not everyone makes it. In recognition of your achievement, Congress just passed on December 10th a bill that will bump the cost of a lifetime America the Beautiful Senior Pass from $10 to $80. The AtB Pass allows you free access to federal lands controlled by the Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Fish & Wildlife Service, The Bureau of Land Management, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation. It gets you through the pay gate (when present) at places such as the

Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon. The AtB Pass does not cover camping fees in developed campgrounds, or other services. But the gate fees alone are usually stout enough that the AtB Senior Pass is being downgraded from “stunning bargain” to “good deal”.

Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon.

Information on this fee increase is sketchy, as in the cost being over $80 under some circumstances, and no effective date yet being assigned. If you are 62 or older, have been considering a Senior Pass and can show proof of residency and age, it would pay you to apply now. Here is a list of sites and offices where the Senior Pass is available. The Annual Pass they list is for younger folks, so ignore it. A Senior Pass is a lifetime pass. It would pay to call a facility first, to make sure they have passes on hand. This is the only way to obtain a $10 pass without a $10 processing fee being tacked on.

If you are hep to online ordering, you can go to the USGS store and order a Senior Pass “kit” to be mailed to you for $20 total. The ordering process allows and requires you pay by credit card and upload a scan or photo of proof of age, such as a driver’s license, state ID card, passport or passport card. Your name will be pre-printed on the pass.

You can also do things Old School and print out this application, fill it out, include a copy of your ID, and mail it in to the address on the form. As with online, a $10 processing fee is added to the $10 Pass fee.

A walking path through the Blue Mesa at the National Petrified Forest.

A walking path through the Blue Mesa at the National Petrified Forest.

If you already have an AtB Senior Pass, keep it safe. Replacements can be obtained by turning worn out or damaged ones in, but if you lose your Pass or it is stolen, you’re pimped. You have to reapply and pay again at the prevailing fee. So, fellow seniors, do you know where your America the Beautiful Senior Pass is? If you can’t find it, you’d better hustle before the new higher fees rattle all the way down the pipe.

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15 thoughts on “When Haste Saves Money

  1. I went out on my 62nd birthday & bought mine, it’s a great feeling showing it when you go into the Grand Canon again & again…
    I wonder why the greed? From $10 to $80 is a big jump.

  2. I hope it doesn’t go into effect until after next week. I turn 62 next Friday. I’m seeing a trip to the Grand Canyon on that weekend…

  3. The pass also let’s you camp for half price in campgrounds in the aforementioned places and some are free to camp. Disabled can get the pass slso, that would be me…one legged voeboy! LOL

  4. morongobill on said:

    Thanks for this great post, Doug. I will be ordering mine online once I get back home from drone flying out near the Palm Springs windfarms.

  5. I was steamed when I got word through the good folks that publish the days end directory. I had been looking forward for at least five years, not to turning 62, but to getting my very own park pass. My sig other is fully disabled so we were able to enjoy the perks of a life of full time pain and misery. But it was a benefit of age, condition, and citizenship, that I fully appreciated. It doesn’t escape my notice that when benefits are reigned in on the upper class (it actually has happened in the past, but not often), it is phased in gradually and with a much delayed initial start. When the lower classes have some government benefit withdrawn it’s immediate and all at once. If I’m lucky I’ll still turn 62 in April, but I’m sure the ruling pricks will see to it the bargain geezer federal parks pass is gone before then.

    I did have the pleasure of giving a heads up to two friends who were already past 62 and hadn’t gotten a pass. I feel some warm and fuzzies from that.

    • Perhaps somebody looked around and figured that the bulk of retired seniors who actually travel to visit the various parks have the money available, judging by the rigs filling the developed campgrounds. I’m in a low-cost RV park miles from Yuma, but the Mighty Defiant is easily the oldest hardware here, and maybe the 3rd smallest in nearly 300 spaces! Yet, compared to many with even smaller, improvised rigs living on absurdly small incomes, I’m swimming in cash. Since we have a tendency to not be able to imagine anything outside our own circumstances, we form generalizations, like the calls I occasionally hear for taxing 100% of SS income. In this case, bucks-down elderly people who are living on the road because there are no practical financial alternatives fall between the cracks when it comes to forging new policies. They tend to be left out of considerations since they are a minority lacking the power to become a squeaky wheel. No clubs or organizations to lobby or represent their interests. Besides, they have no money, which is a requisite for representation. I think the bulk of RVers will grouse and complain, but can easily afford the upcharge. Those that can’t are relegated to not seeing the sights on federal lands, which admittance is slowly transitioning from a right to a privilege. That goes against the original purposes of creating things like National Parks, but everything is subject to change based on the prevailing culture and politics.

  6. Bernie Norman on said:

    Doug, thank you so much for the heads up on the increase in the cost of the Senior Pass. I intend to “hit the road” in late 2017 and the pass will be a much needed tool in my effort to affordably live. I zipped down the road yesterday to the nearest National Wildlife Refuge and snagged that little card. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog with all of its fine detail and occasional bits of sly and/or self deprecating humor. Good luck with your recovery and please, keep on keeping on!

  7. Well dagnabbit, I’m probably out of luck on this one! I have a few years to go before I can get one. But then my travels are fairly limited these days, so it is not as big a loss for me. But to go from $10 to $80? All at once? Oh my! Greed. From Rights to all, down to the privileged few, indeed. “Our National Treasures” continues to get more emphasis on the last word, and less on the first. Sad.

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