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home : most recent : statewide implications August 17, 2017

7/28/2017 9:43:00 AM
Senior national park passes become hot sellers as price increase looms
At a glance
Passes can be purchased at offices of federal agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office at Lake Monroe; the Bedford and Tell City offices of the Hoosier National Forest; Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in Seymour; and Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge near Madison.

Anyone who wants to purchase senior passes should call ahead to check on availability and office hours.

The passes can be used at sites managed by six agencies: National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The pass allows the pass holder as well as three other people, ages 16 or older, to enter free of charge.

Carol Kugler, Herald-Times

More people than ever before are visiting the Army Corps of Engineers office at Lake Monroe, and traffic at the Bedford office of the Hoosier National Forest has picked up in the past month — all because of the National Park Service’s senior pass. Seniors want to grab their pass before it jumps in price next month.

The cost of the lifetime pass for senior citizens is increasing from $10 to $80, the current cost of an annual parks pass. The change — a 700 percent increase — will take place Aug. 28. The National Park Service announced the price increase in April.

If people don’t purchase the senior pass online, they have to travel to an office of a federal recreation site to purchase them.

In June, AARP wrote several articles about the hike in price and the National Park Service sent out media releases. That’s when the Hoosier National Forest offices in both Bedford and Tell City saw a drastic increase in demand for the senior passes.

“We’ve sold out twice,” Andrea Crain, public affairs officer with the Hoosier National Forest, said Thursday.

To meet the demand, the forest service requested 500 passes, and then the next week ordered an additional 1,000 passes, which were delivered on Thursday. “We’re very well stocked for now,” Crain said.

Crain estimated the two offices are selling between 40 and 50 senior passes a day. So far in July, the Tell City office has sold 254 senior passes and more have been sold at the Bedford office

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