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Old 05-20-2015, 03:11 PM   #1
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Maze of Permits and Passes... is there a primer?

Hi all,

I live in Oregon and have a NW forest pass, A NW wildlife area pass, A Washington St adventure pass of some kind, and yet, the Oregon Coast seems to require yet another kind of pass. I imagine there are even more.

Has anyone published a compendium of all these passes and where they are required?

thanks!
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Old 05-20-2015, 04:00 PM   #2
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I only know of the NW Forest pass and the WA Discovery Pass. And when I get my fishing license it seems like there's another pass you get for parking but I don't think it's a discover Pass. Yes, they are confusing!

I've camped at the coast a lot and I'm not familiar with a pass for that.
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Old 05-20-2015, 05:19 PM   #3
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The coast seems to want permits to stop in the day use areas like Heceta Head Lighthouse. I think I read somewhere that your camping receipt serves. Does the NW Forest Pass work in National Parks? Is something needed for BLM?

thanks again
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:35 PM   #4
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Don't forget an annual "America The Beautiful Pass", "Senior Pass" or "Access Pass". We're not quite of a certain age, so we buy a fresh Beautiful pass each year in addition to the WA state parks pass. In both cases we rationalize the expense by thinking about how much we're in favor of supporting our park systems.

America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:11 PM   #5
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Nothing like Taxpayers paying for the privilege of using parks they've already payed for.
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:11 PM   #6
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does the America the Beautiful Pass eliminate the need for a NW forest pass and a wildlife parking pass?
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:33 PM   #7
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I believe America the Beautiful does replace the Forest Services' NW Forest Pass.

"The America the Beautiful: National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass (Interagency Annual Pass) is honored nationwide at National Park Service, Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation recreation sites charging day-use or entrance fees."

However, at the beach, many of the parks and waysides are state parks and will require an Oregon State Park pass.
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Old 05-20-2015, 07:51 PM   #8
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Exactly right - the Beautiful is nationwide, but does not cover state, county, municipal or private parks. Just the Federal stuff listed on the website.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:22 PM   #9
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The "America the Beautiful" passes cover all of the normal entrance fees or day use fees for parks, recreations areas, etc. operated by the Federal government. National Parks, National Forests, BLM lands, etc. would all be covered by such a pass. As Rocinante notes, it doesn't cover state, county, municipal, or private parks or forests or wildlife areas.

Most states where I've visited state parks have offered annual passes for their state park system, if they charge entrance fees. State parks I've visited in AZ, CO, IN, and NJ have had entrance fees, and IIRC at least CO and IN offered annual passes. State parks I've visited in KY, MA, NY, OH, and PA have had no entrance fees.

The county park systems in Ohio generally charge day use fees, and have annual passes available. The county parks I encountered in New Jersey did not.

Most city parks I've encountered anywhere have not required entrance or day use fees, but many city-owned beaches have required day use fees, parking fees, and/or resident permits.
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Old 05-20-2015, 11:22 PM   #10
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A subtlety I discovered is in the wording of "...operated by the Federal government...." If the facility is actually operated by a concessionaire, the concessionaire is free to set their own policy with respect to the federal passes. My experience at three sites has been a 50% discount on entrance fees and camping fees.

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Old 05-21-2015, 01:12 AM   #11
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Nothing like Taxpayers paying for the privilege of using parks they've already payed for.
Actually, no. Sadly the state and national parks that we visit have budgets that are constantly being pinched to the point where infrastructure and services are diminished. Roads full of potholes (Mojave National Preserve,) campgrounds with shortened seasons (Glacier NP,) and solo employees on duty who can either staff the visitor center or clean up the campsite mess left by its previous occupants (Utah, Goblin Valley State Park.) If the parks have to use an additional way to raise needed funds from the people who actually use the parks (like us, vs. non-recreating taxpayers) it is hard to blame them.

The federal government's seniors pass for their public recreational lands is a huge steal at $10 for a lifetime pass. Free admission and half price on campsites. We are the happy beneficiaries of this perk, but it seems like they could charge a lot more, still give seniors a break, and put the funds back to work in the parks.

One other fee that we encounter when go camping with our canoe in Idaho and Montana (Yellowstone,) is a small boating fee used to combat invasive aquatic species.

We have a non-resident seasons pass for Idaho state parks, which includes all admission fees (charged each day) but not campsites.
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Old 05-21-2015, 01:13 PM   #12
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At Ocala National Forest in Florida I encountered two instances of this, as their campgrounds are operated by a concessionaire.
1) My camping fee was reduced by half but the hookup (electricity, water, sewer) fee was not.
2) When visiting other fee based areas in the National Forest operated by the same concessionaire, I was asked to pay an entrance fee to their area, as well.

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A subtlety I discovered is in the wording of "...operated by the Federal government...." If the facility is actually operated by a concessionaire, the concessionaire is free to set their own policy with respect to the federal passes. My experience at three sites has been a 50% discount on entrance fees and camping fees.

Al
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Old 05-21-2015, 04:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len n Jeanne View Post
Actually, no. Sadly the state and national parks that we visit have budgets that are constantly being pinched to the point where infrastructure and services are diminished. Roads full of potholes (Mojave National Preserve,) campgrounds with shortened seasons (Glacier NP,) and solo employees on duty who can either staff the visitor center or clean up the campsite mess left by its previous occupants (Utah, Goblin Valley State Park.) If the parks have to use an additional way to raise needed funds from the people who actually use the parks (like us, vs. non-recreating taxpayers) it is hard to blame them.
A topic more complex than it might seem

From the time I have spent at national and state parks and recreation areas, I perceive that a great deal, in some cases an excessive amount, of funding is devoted to purportedly scholarly work that does not benefit the public. Rangers and staff biologists being paid to organize collections of fossils, specimens, and similar park artifacts. Or the same individuals being paid to study and inventory wildlife, geological features, or other things in the park. Paying park staff to patrol the trails on ATVs to make sure there are no unauthorized motorized users (yes, really).

At one park in Minnesota that I know well they paid for hundreds of saplings that were planted by boy scout volunteers in a reforestation effort in the 1970s on land that had been previously used as cropland. In the 1990s the park got new management who paid to cut down all the trees to plant a prairie restoration. Now I don't know what the highest and best use, most suitable to the area, actually is, but the fact that this sort of thing goes on is indicative of poor planning and a lack of institutional respect for decisions already made.

I also see, in many cases, an excessive focus on group uses and group-oriented facilities that predominantly serve cub scouts, school groups, and other youth organizations. A laudable public use to be sure but these uses are heavily subsidized at other users' expense.

At least in Minnesota I see an excessive focus on acquisition and preservation of inholdings and land adjoining existing parks that is of, at best, marginal recreational value, for no reason I can discern other than empire building on the part of local and regional park management.

We are now at the point in Minnesota where the total price of a state or regional park campground stay is about the same as a KOA and other similar midrange private facilities that offer more services.
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Old 05-21-2015, 04:20 PM   #14
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Off topic police!

OP did not ask how parks are funded or not, just how to navigate the maze of passes and permits (e.g. does a compendium exist?)

Answer to that question: Not as far as I know, though there are resources such as the America the Beautiful pass page that attempts to explain what it covers. I've yet to see a comprehensive doc on the subject, though I'd love for there to be one. So I guess my answer is, "I hope so!"
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