On Aug. 28, the National Park Service will increase the price of its lifetime senior passes from $10 to $80.
The park service has not increased the price of its lifetime senior pass since 1994. However, the new $80 price far outpaces inflation over the past 23 years — $10 in 1994 had the approximate value of between $16 and $17 in today’s money.
Whatever the cost, the paid passes are only necessary at 118 of the 417 National Park Service sites, as the other 299 don’t charge admission anyway. But here in Maine, this matters, because one of those 118 is Acadia National Park.
The new $80 price will be the same price as an annual National Park Service pass for non-seniors, and is more than the $55 individual season passes sold for the Maine State Parks.
Senior citizens can also buy annual passes to the national parks for $20, and get a lifetime pass after buying annual passes four times, sort of like an installment plan.
Lifetime senior passes purchased prior to the price increase on Aug. 28 will remain valid and will not need to be renewed at the higher price. This could mean a lot of orders for $10 lifetime senior passes over the next six weeks.
Lifetime senior park passes can be bought at national parks, including Acadia, as well as through the mail or online, through the U.S. Geological Survey website. Passes purchased through the mail or online will have an additional $10 processing fee added.
National park passes cannot be purchased through Maine state parks.
According to the National Park Service, “$37.6 million in estimated revenue from the senior pass will be used to enhance the visitor experience, with an emphasis on deferred maintenance, improved visitor facilities, and trail maintenance.”