Looking out from one of the cliff dwellings at the remnants of the circular pueblo dwellings at New Mexico’s Bandelier National Monument. Photo: Howard Meyerson
By Howard Meyerson
A few weeks ago I let you know that many U.S. national parks are proposing to raise entrance, camping and other fees in the next couple of years. Most are looking to make improvements for the National Park Service centennial celebration in 2016, and the last fee increase was five years ago.
In some cases, those entrance fees will rise substantially. Annual passes for Rocky Mountain National Park, for instance, are proposed to increase from $40 to $60. The seven-day vehicle fee would go from $20 to $30. New Mexico’s Bandelier National Monument, one of my favorite ancestral pueblo sites, is proposing to increase their seven-day vehicle pass from $12 to $20; and from $30 to $40 for an annual pass.
Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, both very popular destinations, propose to raise their seven-day, two-park entrance pass from $25 to $50. Yellowstone now plans to offer a three-day Yellowstone-only vehicle pass for $30 and an annual pass for $60.
Those increases are likely to give some pause – particularly older individuals living on a fixed income, but, there are ways to save money if you plan to visit the parks. If you are 62 years or older, consider buying a senior interagency lifetime pass. It costs $10 if purchased at a park, $20 by mail. That’s what one MLive reader, Joe Zurawski and his wife, Sue, did this year when they visited Haleakala National Park, in Hawaii.
“I discovered I could purchase a lifetime pass for all the national parks for $10,” Zurawski said. “Now whenever we go to any U.S. National Park all we have to do is show them our passes and picture ID. I thought it was fantastic.
“Visiting the national parks has been on my to-do list for several years. My wife and I are retired and plan to travel and take in some of the other parks. For this trip, the pass didn’t make a difference, but it will for others. Every little bit helps. It’s a little extra we will have to spend on other things.” Continue reading