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Cost of Senior (former Golden Age) Pass Is About to Skyrocket!


Al F

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The Cost of Senior (former Golden Age) Pass Is About to Skyrocket!

 

The cost may be going from $10 to $80 for the Senior Pass. The may be an option to buy the senior pass for 12 months for $20. There are companion bills in both the House and Senate which could be passed very soon and possibly signed quickly by the President.

 

If you are over 62 years of age and don't have a senior pass buy one as soon as you can.

 

This info came from the Editor of "Days End" Guy Gipson

 

For more info here is a link to a PDF on the Days End website. I don't think you have to be a member to access the PDF file.

 

 

I am not sure whether to be in favor of this or not. The National Parks certainly need the money. Since we already have our senior passes, it would be easy to say, "I got mine but others should have to pay."

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I seriously doubt that an increase in the Senior Pass will make a real difference in remedying the shortfall in the NPS budget. I also doubt that the increase for a lifetime pass from $10 to $80 dollars will be a major budget hardship for most.

 

I am more concerned about the creation of yet another "special fund" that will likely result in additional administrative staff and costs.

 

"(Sec. 101) This bill establishes the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund in the Treasury to finance signature projects and programs to enhance the National Park System...

(Sec. 103) Interior shall develop for Congress a list of signature projects and programs eligible for funding from the Challenge Fund."

 

There is no mention of what Congress will do with the project list: approve it, tinker with it, pick and choose projects for funding(appropriations)? It does state that "All amounts transferred or appropriated to the Challenge Fund shall be available to the Secretary for signature projects and programs, without further appropriation, until expended." Challenge funds generally require matching funds, I do not see any clear description of matching funds or where they come from. Are they the Congressional appropriations to the fund mentioned?

 

Another hidden cost increase for visitors is:

 

 

TITLE II--NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION ENDOWMENT

National Park Foundation Endowment Act

(Sec. 202) The National Park Foundation shall establish a Second Century Endowment for the National Park Service consisting of any gifts, devises, or bequests.

Interior shall impose in an NPS unit, and collect for deposit in the endowment, a fee in addition to the daily cost of lodging in unit facilities, but ensure that any such fee does not raise the aggregate amount of government fees to more than 5% of the base daily cost of lodging. It does not define whether campgrounds are lodging.

 

The bill does:

 

(Sec. 303) The bill increases funding for the Volunteers-In-Parks Program. "Section 102301(d) of title 54, United States Code, is amended by striking ‘‘not more than $7,000,000’’ and inserting ‘‘not more than $10,000,000’’."

 

According to the Office of the Clerk of Congress , H.R.4680 was passed by voice vote and then a Motion to Reconsider was agreed to:

"1:42:29 P.M. H.R. 4680 Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection."

My understanding is that this means the Bill is in suspense until further action. The Senate Bill S.2257 had hearings 12/8/2015 with no further actions listed that I can find. Time in this Congress and this Administration is running out.

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TCW, on 07 Dec 2016 - 06:21 AM, said:

I seriously doubt that an increase in the Senior Pass will make a real difference in remedying the shortfall in the NPS budget. I also doubt that the increase for a lifetime pass from $10 to $80 dollars will be a major budget hardship for most.

 

 

 

Maybe not for *most,* but for a lot of people it would be a hardship, particularly if it's going to be *each year* instead of a one-time fee. I'm just glad we have ours! (Of course, Congress could also include a passage that current Senior Passes won't be good anymore.)

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Hubby is three months shy of getting his geezer pass. We were really looking forward to his birthday. Whatever happens, you can bet there will be a ball of confusion. We have paid the $80 for the annual pass every year without complaint for a long time. I just hope when he turns into a Geezer next year we are entitled to half price camping. Bets, anyone?

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Maybe not for *most,* but for a lot of people it would be a hardship, particularly if it's going to be *each year* instead of a one-time fee. I'm just glad we have ours! (Of course, Congress could also include a passage that current Senior Passes won't be good anymore.)

You seem not to have read either the original post or the actual legislation that was linked to, It is $80 ($70 increase) for a Lifetime Senior Pass or $20 for an Annual Senior Pass(new option). There is a provision that pegs the future cost of the Lifetime pass to the cost of the Annual Pass.

 

If an individual or couple can not find $70 ($80-10) in their budget for a one time purchase (the equivalent of $5.84/month for the first year), how can they afford to travel to and visit the National Parks? Remember that fees are charged at about 130 of the 400+ Park Service Managed sites, so there are plenty of free sites (likely more than a lifetimes worth). The proposed $20 Annual Senior Pass is less than the onetime entrance fee to Yellowstone alone so not buying one would actually cost a senior more.

 

 

Hubby is three months shy of getting his geezer pass. We were really looking forward to his birthday. Whatever happens, you can bet there will be a ball of confusion. We have paid the $80 for the annual pass every year without complaint for a long time. I just hope when he turns into a Geezer next year we are entitled to half price camping. Bets, anyone?

The proposed legislation does not appear to make any changes to the benefits of the Senior Pass, so that would require passage of another Bill or amendment of the Senate Bill and reconciliation with HR4680.

 

 

As I said before, this may all be about nothing as time is running short for legislation to pass this session.

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As I said before, this may all be about nothing as time is running short for legislation to pass this session.

And while this may not be a total answer to the parks budgets, one has to start somewhere if we ever expect to find one. Of course, it is easy for me to support since I have mine but I'd like to think that I could if I didn't. I suspect that the $10 doesn't even pay the cost of providing the senior cards to us. I'm pretty sure that $10 was what my parents paid for their senior cards, purchased in 1960. I suspect that change would bring the cost back into line with what it would be if corrected for inflation. It would be interesting to know just when the program was instituted.

 

 

In a December notice in the Federal Register, the Forest Service proposed the plan to cut discounts for pass holders from 50 percent to 10 percent at privately managed camping facilities. The discount would remain in place for the 18 percent of campsites that are federally managed. The agency also would institute a 10 percent discount for pass holders at privately managed amenities like picnic areas, boat docks and trails—a measure that could reduce fees at some facilities and raise them at others.

 

The public has until Feb. 1 to comment. Officials say the proposal would likely take effect in 2011 if it’s enacted by Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

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In a December notice in the Federal Register, the Forest Service proposed the plan to cut discounts for pass holders from 50 percent to 10 percent at privately managed camping facilities. The discount would remain in place for the 18 percent of campsites that are federally managed. The agency also would institute a 10 percent discount for pass holders at privately managed amenities like picnic areas, boat docks and trails—a measure that could reduce fees at some facilities and raise them at others.

The public has until Feb. 1 to comment. Officials say the proposal would likely take effect in 2011 if it’s enacted by Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

 

Kirk,

 

Is this a typo? I seem to remember this issue from years past, has it been revived?

 

I've read the entire text of H.R. 4680 a couple of times and did not see any reference to the Forest Service or other agencies that accept the America the Beautiful Pass. I also did not see any changes to the recreational fee system other than for the fees collected from the sales of the Senior Pass by the National Park Service: "B) Amounts in excess of $10 that are charged by the National Park Service for a pass under subparagraph (A)(i) shall be deposited in the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund established under section 101(a) of the National Park Service Centennial Act". To me this means that for passes sold by the Park Service, $70 of the Senior Pass cost and $10 of the New Annual Senior Pass cost will be deposited in the newly created fund.

 

 

...It would be interesting to know just when the program was instituted...

According to this webpage: "The fee system got underway rather haphazardly late in the 1965 season, and the regulations were revised for greater effectiveness in 1966. In addition to the universal entrance permit dubbed the "Golden Eagle," whose cost was set at the maximum $7 authorization,"

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OMG! ​$20/yr, $80 lifetime for free entrance and 50% campground discounts. For the sake of discussion, from an RVing perspective compare that to:

 

Good Sam- $27/yr, $69/3 yr

Escapees- $39.95/yr, $850/lifetime

Passport America- $44/yr, $179/5yr.

 

Everyone can decide for themselves which is the best bang for their bucks.

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...I'm pretty sure that $10 was what my parents paid for their senior cards, purchased in 1960. I suspect that change would bring the cost back into line with what it would be if corrected for inflation...

This peaked my interest. As mentioned in my previous post, according to the Park Service, the Golden Eagle Pass instituted in 1965 cost $7.00. According to this calculator, that equates to $53.72 in 2016. I don't know the numbers, but I am sure that the current Senior Pass is good at many more facilities than existed or charged fees in 1965.

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. I don't know the numbers, but I am sure that the current Senior Pass is good at many more facilities than existed or charged fees in 1965.

I have been searching the net and so far have not found an answer, but I'm pretty sure that at first it was only accepted at the national parks. I know that there have been agencies added to the plan over the years but so far have not found any source of which agency became a part of the pass program, when. I am still looking. :P

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I decided to look into the potential impact of this proposal on the financial state of the National Park System. The deferred maintenance backlog as of 2015 was $11.927 Billion dollars. Using census birth records for 1955 (about 4 million) and Social Security estimates of those reaching 62 years of age through 2030 (estimated at 10,000/day or 3.65 million/year); if 4 million people a year bought a Senior Lifetime Pass that would be $320 million in revenue per year for the Park Service. At that rate, it would take 37+ years to fund the 2015 deferred maintenance backlog, longer if everyone turning 62 does not buy a pass.

 

In my opinion, this is not much more than a feel good measure that was proposed to commemorate the Park Service Centennial.

 

On edit: The Congressional Budget Office Report does not include any estimate of the amount to be collected as a result of the proposed fee increases. In only discusses the increases in authorizations contained in the bill.

 

...so far have not found any source of which agency became a part of the pass program, when...

I think that the Fish & Wildlife Service was added with the implementation of the Fee Demonstration Program in the mid 1980's, but not sure. That was when the current 80% retention of funds at the facility that collected the fees was instituted. Vladimir may know when the Forest Service was included.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I am currently a campground host with the COE at Jennings Ferry, Akron, AL and we are still selling the ATB Senior Pass for $10.00 and the ranger we work with says he has received no notice of the increase or when it will be effective.

 

If any of you are in my area stop by for a night at a nice campground on the Black Warrior River in western Alabama and get your pass while they are still $10.00. Besides that, this COE park offers a 50% discount on camping so one night's savings will more than pay for the pass.

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