Sometimes age has its advantages.
Did you know that if you are a US Resident 62 years of age or older you can purchase a Lifetime Pass granting you free admission to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites for a mere $10?
The Senior Pass May be obtained in person at a federal recreation site or through the mail using this application form. The cost of obtaining a Senior Pass through the mail is $20.00 ($10.00 for the pass and $10.00 for processing the application.) Applicants must provide documentation of age and residency or citizenship.
The Senior 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.)
In addition to free admission, at some sites the pass provides a 50% discount for the pass owner on amenity fees such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services.
More details and instructions for obtaining the pass are available here.
U.S. Military members and dependents may obtain a free annual pass. Everyone else can purchase an annual pass for $80.
Of the 2,000 federal recreation sites, over 400 are under jurisdiction of the National Park Service. The National Park Service was created by an Act signed by President Woodrow Wilson on August 25, 1916. Yellowstone National Park was established as the nation's first national park by an Act signed by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. You can see the national park system Timeline here.
The 401 areas comprising the National Park Service system cover more than 84 million acres in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These areas include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House. Here is a complete list.
The largest(13.2 million acres) is the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska; the smallest (0.02 acres) is the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, in Philadelphia PA. Here is a tool for locating sites in each state and US territory.
Free pass, annual pass, or single admission — however you go — a visit to these sites is a bargain. This land is your land, and it is beautiful! Get out and enjoy it whenever you have the opportunity.
I hope you find this a “Thing Worth Knowing.” Check for more stories like these as time goes by.