Act Fast to Save Money on National Park Visits

Above: The beauty of America’s national parks is a better value if you get a lifetime senior pass before Aug. 28, when the cost rises from $10 to $80.

BY STEVE DINNEN

Here’s a way to save some money (not a lot) and enjoy/invest in the great outdoors (as much as you want).

At the urging of Congress, the National Park Service is bumping the price of a lifetime pass for seniors to national parks to $80 come Aug. 28. But if you stroll into your friendly neighborhood park by Aug. 27, you can still latch on to one for the absurdly low price of $10.

The passes, available to anyone 62 or older, give you free access to any of the 2,000 or so qualifying sites (not all charge admission) that are run by the Park Service and five other agencies that include the Army Corps of Engineers and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

You can buy the pass online here. Better yet, why not acquire it in person? At nearly all of the sites, this will give you a chance to admire Mother Nature firsthand. Around here the easiest to reach are the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, near Prairie City, and Saylorville Lake, near Johnston.

My wife and I already have scheduled a trip to the Neal Smith area to buy our passes and watch the buffalo roam 5,600 acres of its great tallgrass prairie lands. One down, 1,999 more great places in America to visit.

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