Gift Idea: 2011 National Parks Pass

Yosemite's famous valley, Acadia's ocean cliffs, Zion's narrow canyons. Give someone — or yourself — the gift of exploring awesome outdoor spaces in 2011 with an America the Beautiful — National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.


$80 gets you an annual pass and entry to national parks and other federal recreation lands for one year.

For $80, an annual pass gets you and up to three adults (per vehicle) into federally operated recreation sites across the country. No entrance fee required. The National Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation all honor the pass.

Anyone 16 years or older can purchase a pass; children under 16 are already admitted free. Each pass can have up to two owners; you need not be related or married. Photo ID is required for proof of ownership when using your pass.

There also are a few alternative passes:

  • If you are 62 or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you're eligible for a lifetime Senior Pass for just $10. Now, that is quite a deal.
  • If you are permanently disabled and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you're eligible for a free lifetime Access Pass.
  • If you are a National Park volunteer and have accrued 500 service hours, you're eligible for a free annual Volunteer Pass. 
  • Some national parks have their own annual passes, like the Shenandoah Annual Pass for $30. If you're sure you'll only be visiting one spot next year, check for passes from your favorite park.

For FAQ's on the pass, fine-print details, and more, visit USGS.com or call 1-888-ASK-USGS and press 1.

Note: You can buy a 2011 Annual Pass in advance online, handy for gift giving. However, 2011 passes aren't valid for entry until January 1, 2011. You cannot purchase them at federal recreation sites until January 1, 2011. If you need to use your pass prior to January 1, purchase a 2010 Annual Pass (vaild for one year).

http://store.usgs.gov/pass/


Filed under: People & Organizations

Comments

John13np
0 reviewer rep
6 forum posts
December 8, 2010 at 6:05 p.m. (EST)

That would be a wonderful gift idea! The only thing I don't like about selling/buying the annual $80 pass is I get a lot of people telling me that it didn’t pay for its self. Which I can understand. I mean, you pay $80 and then only get half off? I'm not a big fan of that, I would think you should get in for free for paying $80 bucks. Oh well, I guess that’s why I’m at the front office typing this on work time :p

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
670 reviewer rep
3,092 forum posts
December 8, 2010 at 8:17 p.m. (EST)

Welcome to Trailspace, John.

I'm curious, where did people you spoke with get only half off their entrance fees?

While entrance fees can vary by sites and bureaus, in most cases (more than 2,000 sites) the pass gives you (and up to three other adults in one car) free entrance, not half off.

In some cases (like for seniors), you may also get an additional half off for certain amenity fees, but generally the pass gets you into parks and other areas for free. (There may be exceptions of which I'm not aware, please share them if you've encountered them.)

Our family has had the passes for a number of years and used them for free entry to many parks.

Here's some info from usgs.gov:

What are the passes good for?

The passes provide entrance or access to more than 2,000 Federal recreation sites.

The Senior and Access Passes may also provide the pass owner a discount on some Expanded Amenity Fees such as camping. (Please contact a site directly if you have a question about pass acceptance and fees).

http://store.usgs.gov/pass/general.html


Who is admitted with an Annual Pass?

Each Annual Pass admits pass owner/s and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas; and pass owner + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, where per-person fees are charged. (Children under 16 are always admitted free).

http://store.usgs.gov/pass/annual.html

 

Other costs, like camping, aren't covered, but entrance fees are.

What is NOT covered by the Annual Pass?

The Annual Pass does not cover Expanded Amenity fees such as camping, boat launching, parking, special tours, special permits or ferries.

Also, some facilities and activities on Federal recreation lands (including those mentioned above) are managed by private concessionaires. The concessionaires charge for their services as any private company does and the Pass is not valid for their services.

General Information

Overview of the Annual Pass

John13np
0 reviewer rep
6 forum posts
December 9, 2010 at 12:55 p.m. (EST)



Alicia,

You are correct, I just looked at our info and it does say you get in for free. I have had a few people explain that they did only get half off at Grand Canyon (which wouldn’t make sense, since it was supposed to get you if for free). The Senior Pass is 50% off, but the Annual pass should be free. Hmmm, well, sorry for the confusion. And thanks for the welcome! :)

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
670 reviewer rep
3,092 forum posts
December 9, 2010 at 1:23 p.m. (EST)

Alicia,

You are correct, I just looked at our info and it does say you get in for free. I have had a few people explain that they did only get half off at Grand Canyon (which wouldn’t make sense, since it was supposed to get you if for free). The Senior Pass is 50% off, but the Annual pass should be free. Hmmm, well, sorry for the confusion. And thanks for the welcome! :)

Thanks for clarifying, John. I figured with thousands of sites, there were probably some fine-print exceptions I was unaware of.

Anyway, it's an excellent deal.

Krumholz Kid
0 reviewer rep
40 forum posts
December 9, 2010 at 2:13 p.m. (EST)

Seniors get a FREE PASS good for FULL admission at 62. I would guess that half off is for senior camping.

The Interagency Pass is also good for Parking at places like Rio Grande Wild Rivers in NM or Mesa Falls in ID.

I don't like access fees. I think TR and company are rolling in their graves for there is indeed no"benefit of all" if one parent has to choose between  a couple of days worth of groceries or a $25 access fee they can likely use only 2 if not just one day.

Other developed Nations generally treat their treasures as national responsibilities available to everyone. We need to get more people into the outdoors to get them to care about it. As tight as these times are its just a question of priorities.

John13np
0 reviewer rep
6 forum posts
December 9, 2010 at 2:47 p.m. (EST)

Seniors get a FREE PASS good for FULL admission at 62. I would guess that half off is for senior camping.

The Interagency Pass is also good for Parking at places like Rio Grande Wild Rivers in NM or Mesa Falls in ID.

I don't like access fees. I think TR and company are rolling in their graves for there is indeed no"benefit of all" if one parent has to choose between  a couple of days worth of groceries or a $25 access fee they can likely use only 2 if not just one day.

Other developed Nations generally treat their treasures as national responsibilities available to everyone. We need to get more people into the outdoors to get them to care about it. As tight as these times are its just a question of priorities.



You're correct, for what I was wrong with. You do get FREE admission, but the pass it self is NOT FREE. However, it is only $10 and it last a lifetime. You would also receive 50% off campgrounds. BTW, this is all for the Senior Pass. And I also agree with the admission prices in general. I believe in fees for camping, and riding ATV's in the Forest, but to see a national treasure, you should not have to pay. The money they receive from maps should be enough. National Forest never charge an entrance fee, including Sedona Red Rocks District, which is a treasure in its self, and most people say should have been a NP.

Krumholz Kid
0 reviewer rep
40 forum posts
December 11, 2010 at 4:12 p.m. (EST)

With all due respect I believe they need a lot more money than they get from maps. We can have a nation of flat fees that can be a choice between days of nutirition for some to a light lunch for the more privlidged of us. We haven't had a persuasive voice in a long time, but we can get back to the National, not personal, responsibility mentality.

Unfortunately more pay trailheads have popped up in National Forests. Its been argued to be an illegal fee program and I've heard if you include protest with your fee it will be refunded. To avoid that hassle the Interagency Pass works. Don't let a private collector/concessionaire tell you it doesn't. That's another thing I wish had never been privatized.

Hunting and Fishing licenses, search and rescue cards like in Colorado, etc., combined with the Pittman-Robertson Act have provided billions of conservation dollars a year for some time. States like Wyoming collect enormous resource taxes from Federal Lands. IMO the money is there if we can get beyond parties of no and give America more than just a quick dusting for once.

Performance
0 reviewer rep
78 forum posts
December 12, 2010 at 10:42 p.m. (EST)

I gave myself the gift last year at Shenandoah National Park. Arriving at the northern entrance this year, (Front Royal) the entrance Ranger asked for payment. I said "no way" and flashed my card. It's beautiful up there.

BigSmoke
33 reviewer rep
201 forum posts
December 13, 2010 at 4:13 p.m. (EST)

We buy one every year. This year had we paid entrance fees every time we entered a National Park we would have paid upwards of $200.

 

If you go to a national park 6 times in a year the pass pays for itself. If you don't it helps offset the cost of maintaining the parks... A good deal no matter which way you look at it.

Krumholz Kid
0 reviewer rep
40 forum posts
December 14, 2010 at 9:09 a.m. (EST)

At $25 a pop GTNP & YNP [combined] makes the pass pay for itself even quicker. Load your vehicle up with friends and it pays even quciker than that. Still don't think we should have to pay for access, just harvest.

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