When Haste Saves Money
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”.
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.
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.