Why the cost of senior lifetime national park passes is going up

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- It’s crunch time for seniors across the country to get their national park pass.

“I figure they need the money, you know, but wanted to get in on the deal while we could," Mary VanDevanter from Falls Church Virginia said.

Mary VanDevanter rushed to get her lifetime pass before the price hikes from just $10 to $80. But others weren’t so chipper about the change.

“Terrible," Richard Hobson from Herndon Virginia said.

Hobson got his senior pass two years ago so he could take in sights like this one, at Great Falls Park in Virginia. He said he’s glad he got it when he did.

“Just not glad that I’m 80 and won’t use it someday okay," he added.

The National Park Service said there's a reason behind the increase. In order for future generations to be able to enjoy the parks they need to make the investment now.

“It’s been amazing actually, it’s been about 10-15 times the normal visitation purchasing on senior pass holders," Brent O’Neill, Supervisory Park Ranger with the National Park Service said.

O’Neill said he has seen the droves of seniors coming out before the increase kicks in on August 28th.

The change came about when Congress passed the bipartisan National Park Service Centennial Act.

Katie Schoettler, Deputy Press Secretary with the House Committee on Natural Resources said the move was to “ensure the National Park Service has the revenues necessary to improve visitor experience at our parks and preserve them for future generations.”

O’Neill said the increase is fairly normal and will help with the overall up keep and growth of the parks he serves.

“The last increase in the senior pass to $10 was in 1994, so it’s 2017. And the National Park Service periodically goes through fee increases in fact in 2015 park service wide we went through a few increase for most parks.

With less than two weeks until the new price takes affect, the surge of seniors wanting passes, continues to roll in.

O’Neill said the best time to get a pass is during the week-days, especially as the deadline gets closer.

For more information on the senior park pass go to https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/senior-pass-changes.htm.

Read the original version of this article at www.graydc.com.

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