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AquaDawg

Federal lands Senior pass going from $10 to $80+

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One thing that troubles me is I know that the folks we elect will use this as an offset to put tax money somewhere else. You can only cut personnel and funding so much and expect to keep facilities anywhere near kept up.

BigJim,

Don't forget that the $10 fee was originally set up to offset the federal agencies costs for purchasing the blank cards, and having a staff member assisting you verify your drivers license, reach under the counter, grab the box of cards, pull one out, write your card number on their log, have you sign the back of the card, and hand you the card. All of which was five minutes of labor for the staff member. Now that they feds in their infinite wisdom have decided they needed an excuse to spend more money and changed to a photo card system I have no idea how much labor is involved.

 

The $10 fee was never meant to be a funding mechanism for the agencies, it's only purpose was to cover the overhead of issuing your card.

 

Dave and Dutch,

Some of us aren't yet eligible for the senior pass. This rewrite of the legislation has congress giving up it's control over the cost structure of the senior pass, and passing it on to the federal agency's. The feds now get to raise the cost any time they feel like it with no congressional oversight.

 

And I can just about guarantee that by the time I become eligible for the pass in 7 years that the feds will have raised the cost to substantially well over $80.

Edited by AquaDawg

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Well..........If you have visit a National Park in this country. you soon find out that most of the people in the park......are not from the good old USA. So the park pass increase will in pack very few citizens. The Increase will not prevent us from enjoying our National Parks. We may have to take up a foreign language. I have noticed that several states have increased there out of state park usage fees, in the last few years. The increase, just makes for more tax money...... So we can be taken care of by Uncle Sam..... (I'll stop now) OU812

We have observed nothing of the sort.

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I started a 3 months host position with the COE this past Sunday. This will be my 3rd host position with the COE and I specifically asked the ranger on arrival if he had heard any info on the pass increases we have been discussing in this thread. He said no word at his level of any proposed change so I am still selling the lifetime pass for $10.00 as of 1-5-17. I'm sure a change is coming, but it hasn't happened at the street level yet.

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Yes, it's on the original link I posted:

12/16/2016 Became Public Law No: 114-289.
12/16/2016 Signed by President.
12/14/2016 Presented to President.

Edited by AquaDawg

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Re: post #27 by Aqua-dog, I seem to recall what you said about the original intent of the fee to be correct.

 

However unless I missed something, you mentioned something about going to a picture ID and I have not heard of this before. I can see the wisdom in that but it should make the cost and time to issue it more expensive. I have advocated for years that they should expire and need renewal say after 5 years. I know there are many being used by folks that they were never intended for since the orginal senior was no longer abe to use it or had died. When I was volunteering at a Tx state park. They used to a senior pass that was stuck to the window. I worked the gate and I loved to catch the ones that were trying to come in on one of those that did not belong to them. Some would get real pissy like I was the one trying to do something wrong.

 

As a side note in the same vane it is kind of good that handicap placards have to be renewed for the same reason.

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BigJim,
I just looked up the senior pass and you are correct. Way back when the feds made a big press release and said that they were going to do away with the golden age passport and replace it with the senior pass and it would be a photo badge. Apparently they changed their minds, and I'm going to have to eat a little crow. Maybe they figured out that to do the photo badge would require them to spend more tax dollars...

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"BigJim,

Don't forget that the $10 fee was originally set up to offset the federal agencies costs for purchasing the blank cards, and having a staff member assisting you verify your drivers license, reach under the counter, grab the box of cards, pull one out, write your card number on their log, have you sign the back of the card, and hand you the card. All of which was five minutes of labor for the staff member"

 

Actually each individual enity( NP, NWR etc ) does not pay a fee to USGS when they order the cards. All funds collected go back to USGS. I have recently been a designated collections officer for a federal agency and handled the the ordering of the passes, remittance of funds etc.

 

As for a picture ID, that would be unbelievabley difficult and expensive. Just imagine outfitting each place with camera equipment etc.

Thus the verification on issue of photo ID then the requirement to show a photo ID when the card is presented for entrance.

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As for a picture ID, that would be unbelievabley difficult and expensive. Just imagine outfitting each place with camera equipment etc.

The VA outpatient clinic I go to does it with a computer attached small camera and printer. Not very impressive quality photo, but it does happen. Of course it would be hard to sell them at the entry gates then...

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Most people already have a picture ID, it called a drivers license. The person checking at the gate could check the name on the pass as well as a DL.

There is no name on the pass (except where you write in on the back in pencil). Just a number. I'm not sure if the number relates to a name in the database, but you would need computer connect at entrance to that database if it does.

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Actually each individual enity( NP, NWR etc ) does not pay a fee to USGS when they order the cards. All funds collected go back to USGS. I have recently been a designated collections officer for a federal agency and handled the the ordering of the passes, remittance of funds etc.

 

As for a picture ID, that would be unbelievabley difficult and expensive. Just imagine outfitting each place with camera equipment etc.

Thus the verification on issue of photo ID then the requirement to show a photo ID when the card is presented for entrance.

 

When I was working all the sales from the passes went to the agency selling the pass. In the case of the Forest Service the funds went back to the Forest where you bought the pass. I am unsure of your reference to USGS....they are not in the pass program though their web site at one time did sell passes.

 

Never heard of the picture ID requirement in the discussion phase, but the legislation did pass in the "dead of night'. I am sure the NPS might have proposed it. They do like checking for picture ID at every entrance gate.

 

The number and name were entered into a data sheet with the Forest Service. In 2007, that information was never entered into any database, but kept in the office where you bought the pass in case you lost it and needed a replacement. That was under the Golden Program. I am sure the NPS probably did enter it into databases...nah, just a guess, but it would be typical.

 

The NPS did have a program of replacing Golden Passes with Senior Passes, but I think it had more to do with "cooking" the books by showing Congress how many Senior Passes they sold relative to other Federal Land Management agencies. There is a reason why the other agencies always roll their eyes when the NPS is mentioned (full disclosure...I did work for NPS at one time and I still roll my eyes).

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There is no name on the pass (except where you write in on the back in pencil). Just a number. I'm not sure if the number relates to a name in the database, but you would need computer connect at entrance to that database if it does.

 

The pass is "supposed" to be signed in pen by the recipient at the point of sale in front of the issuer. When issuing the pass my signature on the control form indicates my certifying that I in fact verified to whom I sold/ issued the pass too. That is why copies of picture ID are sent in when ordering via mail. ( an iffy process at best and the copies are destroyed immediately.)

There is no methodology for any of the issuing agencies to enter the info into any computer "data base" because it doesn't exist. However the " control sheets" are part of the record keeping process and must be kept in the office files for 10 years.

Each fiscal year the new passes received by the agency are recorded by number and old ones destroyed.

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Our card has been checked at the entry booth by their computer, most recently at Chiricahua Nat'l Monument in Arizona - a small park.

I'm not sure what computer they used. There is no data base for the info to be entered into. It's all paper recording and the records are kept at the issuing office under lock and key.

In other words if I issue a pass at say an NWR there is no computer data base for me to enter it into. Since it an interagency pass all agencies would need to be connected to each other via a data base that doesn't exist.

 

If I had to guess they were only scanning it for the purpose of " counting heads" as they come in the door

Edited by nana25k

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Saying it is suppose to be signed in front of the issuer is a lot different than what the actual practice is. We each got ours at a National Park, and because of the line of people going in, it was a "that will be the ten dollars - here's your pass, have a good day" type of transaction. They did verify our age from our drivers license, that was it. When checking into a campground using the pass often they never asked to see it - just verify that we've already paid and in we go, though I always have it in hand just in case. And often times, it is Dave's card and not mine.

 

Barb

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I don't recall now if they asked for our driver's license along with the Senior Pass. Perhaps they did and they were comparing the two names. I really didn't pay close attention to what they were doing with the card but they did have it in their hands a longer time than some of the manned booths we've gone through.

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I'm frankly shocked that anyone would complain about a lifetime national parks pass that costs $80.

 

That's one tank of gas in a full-size pickup truck.

 

All those of you who are old enough to buy a senior pass can still do so for just $10. So go buy one.

 

It will be younger generations like myself who will be required to pay the higher fee once we're old enough to buy the pass. And I would happily pay $80 for it. That's a screamin' deal. But I have 10 more years to go until I'm eligible -- and I would wager money now that it will go up in price again before then.

 

So please, enjoy what you have.

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I only have two years to go and think it is a fantastic deal at $80. I also wouldn't mind if the camping fee was only a 20 or 25 percent discount. You are still getting an incredible deal for the money.

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In my opinion, the National Parks are the greatest places to drop anchor for a week or two, at any price. Think of some of the dumps they call RV campgrounds you have no problem paying $30+ a night to stop overnight in...

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Most of this we are viewing in terms of camping but a vast number of folks are local users. Most have not problem covering the fees but there are some that could be burdened by the fees. That is one reason I liked the idea of not having it all up front in some cases. I believe most will go all in at once but the option is good to have. On the forest I volunteer at the most there are not developed camping areas except for 2 group camps that are rentals. They even have district only pass for $30 for your vehicle. If they can walk in there is no fee. But who is going walk 30 or more miles to access it so I see it as bit of a gimmick. I am all for supporting the infrastructure but I like to see is options for those less financially secure. I think many forests and maybe other areas like NP, COE, etc. have some free days during the year like National Trails day but the problem is getting the word out and whether it will conflict with people having to work or be in school. There is no easy answer but for sure we need to do something to keep things up.

Edited by bigjim

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