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  1. Default America the Beautiful pass to National Parks

    I'm working on our budget for our upcoming trip, and I just discovered that the national park system has increased the cost of their annual pass AGAIN -- the second increase in a year! A national park pass is now $80.

    They haven't increased the cost to enter a single park, just the annual pass. Uncertain that it's still a good deal for us, I double-checked all the entrance fees for the parks we plan to visit, and I discovered that by purchasing the pass we will save a whopping $5 over the course of a two-week trip. (Yes, I know, we'll own the pass and will be able to visit other parks in the 11.5 months after our trip, but we don't right now have any after-this-trip plans for national parks in the immediate future, and the only national park within long-weekend range for us is Great Smokeys. Basically, we're unlikely to use this pass again within a year.)

    Maybe this shouldn't annoy me -- good cause and all -- but it does. This pass has basically doubled over the last two years, and while I understand that everything's more expensive than it used to be, this is a rather steep increase.

  2. #2

    Default

    I bought a pass in 2006 and then it was $50. The following year it increased to $80 but the bonus was that you could also then use it to access many hundreds of other federal lands which it hadn't previously allowed. I still think it's a bargain and was very happy to buy one last year when I returned. I must work out how much money I saved but I feel sure it was several hundred Dollars. And I got a pretty card as a souvenir too :)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default That's what I remembered as well

    As I recall, the price of the pass has not increased in two years -- It was raised to $80 in 2007 and that is the current price.

    Mark

  4. #4

    Default

    I have just done a rough tot up and I saved over $200 by buying the pass and I still have three months left on it if I wanted to go back to the US! It may not work for everyone (MrsPete seems to be one) but if you are gonna see a good selection of parks it is still a real bargain!

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    As I recall, the price of the pass has not increased in two years -- It was raised to $80 in 2007 and that is the current price.

    Mark
    I would've sworn it was $70 this time last year.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by UKCraig View Post
    I have just done a rough tot up and I saved over $200 by buying the pass and I still have three months left on it if I wanted to go back to the US! It may not work for everyone (MrsPete seems to be one) but if you are gonna see a good selection of parks it is still a real bargain!
    If you lived in Utah, you could use it all the time. My point is that $80 is a fairly high pricetag, and you shouldn't automatically assume it'll be a money-saver. Be sure to calculate everything correctly; some parks (i.e., Mt. Rushmore) don't charge an entrance fee, and most entrance fees are good for a whole week.

    I was very disappointed that it'll only save us $5 on our trip.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default a great deal to a good deal

    I was disappointed when they raised the price a couple of years ago because it became more expensive than what I would usually get out of it. In previous years, I would get one as long as I knew I was going to visit at least 2 or 3 parks, knowing I'd at the very least come close to breaking even. The increase from $50 to $80 made it so that I knew I'd need to visit at least 4 parks before it was worth it.

    If you are planning to go to at least that many parks, its still a good deal, and has been mentioned, this is the 3rd year since they expaned the program and raised the price. If you're planning to spend a couple weeks touring the parks of the west, it will still almost certainly pay for itself and then some, plus getting into the parks is faster with a pass. Even as you noted, Mrs. Pete, you'd still save money buy going with the parks pass, its just not as much as you would have a few years ago.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default A saving is a saving !

    Personally I think it's great value. The parks are run to a high standard and with many rangers on hand to help and free shuttle bus service in a lot of them the cost to maintain and make these places accessible can't be cheap.

    If you save money on one trip and it is available to use for the rest of the year if required it can't be bad !

    They haven't increased the cost to enter a single park, just the annual pass.
    Good on them ! As the parks are so popular and most things increase with inflation, not putting up the single entry fees deserves a pat on the back.

    [From the no.1 NP fanboy] Lol! ;-)

  9. Default Good deal for me

    For me personally, it's always a good deal. I go to so many National parks throughout the year. Plus I make repeated trips to Shenandoah National park through out the year. So good deal for me.

    Aside, I have advised/complained to the National park service to not let every one come in to "enjoy" the parks. Lot of them are just drunkards who spoil the serenity of nature. Only people who are mature enough to enjoy the beauty and majesty of nature should be let in. I wonder when they will start enforcing that. *sigh*

  10. #10

    Default

    The NPS is there to provide enjoyment for all... though, I agree, it should enforce its own rules when things get out of hand on the campgrounds for example.

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