Southern Nevada seniors have just a few more weeks to purchase a discount ticket to some of America’s most picturesque locations.
Through Aug. 27, persons ages 62 and older can buy a lifetime senior pass to national parks and other federal lands for just $10. Starting Aug. 28, the price of that lifetime senior pass will increase to $80.
According to the National Park Service, this is the first price increase for the lifetime senior pass since 1994 and results from a law passed in December 2016 that requires the cost of lifetime senior passes to match the price of annual — that is, non-senior — America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands passes, which cost $80 a year.
However, the law did create another, less-expensive option for seniors: an annual senior pass for $20 a year. The NPS said seniors who purchase four annual senior passes can then trade them in for a lifetime senior pass, and previously purchased lifetime senior passes will continue to be honored for the lifetime of the pass holder.
The passes cover entrance and day fees at parks and properties managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and also may give seniors discounts on tours, campsites and other activities at some parks and properties.
Locally, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Lake Mead National Recreation Area are among the fee-charging locations covered by the passes.
Christie Vanover, public affairs officer for Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, said just over 12,400 senior passes were sold at Lake Mead last year, and senior passes were used at Lake Mead about 125,000 times.
Vanover said persons ages 62 and older can purchase lifetime senior passes for $10 before Aug. 27 at any Lake Mead National Recreation Area entrance station and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at park headquarters, 601 Nevada Way, Boulder City.
Lifetime senior passes also can be obtained by mail or online for $10 before the Aug. 28 deadline, but an additional $10 processing fee will be charged. The NPS said it expects a high volume of orders over the next several weeks, so processing of online and mail orders may take several months.
Proceeds from pass sales are used to fund improvements at parks and properties around the country. For example, Vanover said, 80 percent of the money from pass sales at Lake Mead “stays here to improve visitor services at Lake Mead, and the other 20 percent goes to Washington to support parks that don’t collect fees.”
That 20 percent could help non-fee properties such as Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, she said.
For more information about senior passes, visit the NPS’ planning page.
Contact John Przybys at reviewjournal.com. or 702-383-0280. Follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.