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Old 07-18-2009, 06:44 PM   #1
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GoldenAge Pass aka America The Beautiful-The National Parks & Federal Rec Lands Pass

Hi,

The 'Golden Age Passport' has changed it's name to 'America The Beautiful-The National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Pass - Senior Pass' and I'm not sure if what it does has changed. I also can't see a reason to change the name (Too short?). The old ones are still good.

General info about them is (From the Park Service Web Site):
America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass – Senior Pass
This is a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over. The pass provides access to, and use of, Federal recreation sites that charge an Entrance or Standard Amenity. The pass admits the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas and pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per person fee areas (children under 16 are admitted free). The pass can only be obtained in person at the park. The Senior Pass provides a 50 percent discount on some Expanded Amenity Fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services. In some cases where Expanded Amenity Fees are charged, only the pass holder will be given the 50 percent price reduction. The pass is non-transferable and generally does NOT cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessionaires.

I have the still usable:
Golden Age Passport
This pass has been discontinued and replaced by the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass– Senior Pass

The statement about where you can obtain the pass is not quite right. I got my pass at a Forest Service office on the road up to Mt. Hood. Forest Service, BLM, National Wildlife, and other offices also sell them. The $10 price is once a lifetime.

If you want one, I found the attached listing for offices nationally (Sorted by State) that sell them (Last updated in March).

Walt
Attached Files
File Type: pdf GoldenAgePassIssuanceLocations_National.pdf (126.8 KB, 221 views)
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Old 07-18-2009, 07:08 PM   #2
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MY GOD, the horrible thing about that is someone got paid (probably for a year) to come up with the new pointless name when the old one was just fine...

YEP Government at work.....
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Old 07-18-2009, 07:22 PM   #3
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My husband got his about 2 weeks ago at the Greeley, Colorado Rangers office. We will probably try to use it when we next go camping, BUT that statement printed above referencing CONCESSIONAIRS may end up not letting us use it for the 50% off camping that we were led to believe. At least here in Colorado, many of the camp grounds are run, and hosted by concessionaire companies. I would be very interested if someone could fill us in on that??? Has anyone camping in Colorado,using their Golden Age (or like kind) pass gotten a 50% reduction in camp fee?
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Old 07-18-2009, 07:49 PM   #4
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We stayed at the Columbine campground near Questa, New Mexico, earlier this month, which is managed by Scenic Canyons Inc., a private concessionaire, and the 50% discount was available.

It was a basic National Forest campground, no out of the ordinary services. The fee per night was $15 without the discount!

It might be worth checking with the NFS, BLM, or NPS office that oversees the campground concessionaire.
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Old 07-18-2009, 08:29 PM   #5
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The rules around this passport or whatever it's name is are difficult to understand. We have gone to national monuments where entry was free for everyone, but to get into a building cost money and the passport was useless. At Mt. Rushmore, entry to the park is free, but a concessionaire runs the parking and it cost $8, no discount, and there are a few free spaces downhill. It's still a good deal, but hit and miss on what you have to pay and how much. Sometimes we both get a discount, sometimes only I do.

There are numerous "fee areas" on public lands where you have to pay to enter—these are not national parks or monuments, but just national forests or BLM lands or part of them. I have never been able to figure out whether the passport gives free entry there. I once sent an e-mail to the feds asking what was free or not with this passport, and the answer was such uninformative gibberish that I had no idea if an answer was embedded in it somewhere.

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Old 07-18-2009, 11:30 PM   #6
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Oregon Experience

Hi COArgosy78,

We've mostly used ours in Oregon. Typically, the campground fees are about $12/night in the National Forest campgrounds and we pay $6/night (These are mostly managed by concessionaire companies). If the concessionaire builds something or provides something extra beyond the basics in services (Like power, water to the site, or even sewer hookups), those don't get the 50% discount. Entry fees like the one to the Newberry Crater National Monument are waived.

My card has paid for itself many times over in 3 years.

Walt
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Old 07-19-2009, 12:56 AM   #7
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I got mine this year.

Hi, I just got my Senior Pass this year. For the $10.00 it cost me we were able to drive in and out of the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone national parks several times for free. Finally some advantage for being old. This is the only experience we have had so far.
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:06 AM   #8
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I got a Golden Access card about 3 years ago (disabled vet). It has been a blessing. I've been able to get into all the National Parks for free and NP/NF campgrounds in my state (Virginia) for 50% discount. Electric is extra, where they have it.
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Old 07-19-2009, 07:38 AM   #9
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Pass should work for everyone in your party...

We just got back from visiting 7 National Parks with our granddaughter who is 10 years old. One pass was sufficient. My wife was never asked to show her pass and the Rangers charged for our granddaughter. The Pass is supposed to cover everyone in the vehicle.

Yes, the one exception was Mt Rushmore where you need to park and it is run by a concessionaire. I complained but still had to pay $10 to get thru towing the Airstream.
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Old 07-19-2009, 07:49 AM   #10
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As a volunteer in a BLM/USFS office, I can vouch for the fact that there is some confusion regarding discounts on things other than park admission and camping fees. Some concessionaires are better than others when it comes to explaining the use of the card. FYI, the $10.00 fee stays in the area in which the pass was purchased and does not go into the black hole called DC.
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:13 PM   #11
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Well, thanks to all who added to this post. Your answers give me some hope that this won't be just another jumbled (gov't) mess We will try it out here in Colorado later this fall and see what is what. I know when we camped up by Mt. Evans last Spring, the ranger asked my Hubby if he had a pass. Would have gotten us up to the top of Evans if we had. I just had heard that some concessionaires did not give the 50% on camping, but sounds more promising now Thanks.

PS if anyone has experienced a campground that would NOT honor the pass, I would love to have it posted here. Maybe if they start getting some complaints and questioning why them and not others, that will change.
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:49 PM   #12
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"Concessionaire"

If the concessionaire is selling hot dogs - no discount. If he is running a Fed Facility - discount. I think. In one case he is running a federal facility for the govt. In the other he is running his own operation under a lease from the federal govt.

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Old 07-20-2009, 09:18 AM   #13
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Haven't been refused yet.
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:38 AM   #14
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For decades the road to the top of Mt. Evans was a free state highway. At the top are spectacular views of the Front Range from more than 14,000 feet. Around the early '90's, the FS put up a kiosk and started charging $6 to use a state highway to the top. After many years I have heard they stopped charging if you said you would stay on the highway. If you stepped off the pavement, you were in trouble. Then I heard that after 6 pm, the ranger left and people could go up for free. It's as high as Pike's Peak and costs less than that highway if you pay the fee. I haven't been up there since they started charging. I used to see Mt. Evans from where I lived and thought of it as my mountain. I felt the FS couldn't charge me to visit it, so I haven't been there since they put up the kiosk.

This all started as part of the "fee demo" program where fees are charged for use of public lands—FS and BLM mostly—that had been free for generations. Towns nearby hate it because it reduces tourism. Locals hate it because they have to pay to go places they have always gone. The program, which they claim is used to maintain and improve the fee area, was mismanaged for years. The FS, the prime beneficiary of this, could not tell anyone where the money actually went. The result is the program has been expanded and made permanent so far as I know. There are many wonderful places on the public lands without fees and that's where we go. If the Golden Age Passport with another name waives these fees, great. If it doesn't, not so great.

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