One of the most valuable assets we as Americans can posses is access to the lands around us and the National Parks and Federal Recreation service is helping us do just that with a unique pass program called "America The Beautiful".
I must say when I first was inquiring about traveling one of the things I noticed very quickly was how fees can add up. This pass however, cuts down on much of the initial cost of traveling as it gives you annual access to any one of the hundreds of facilities managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management or Bureau of Reclamation. In addition, there are discounts offered by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in many of their camping facilities.
Passes are available in 4 levels, each of which has a designated target audience and price point. An annual pass is designated for the standard tourist to these areas and is $80 per year. A volunteer pass is designated for those offering 500 or more annual hours of service to recreation sites, it along with a lifetime pass for those with disabilities are each free of charge. The last pass available is for those within the senior bracket, they are given a lifetime pass for only $10.
Passes are available online but also in select offices nationwide. I was fortunate to have the Caddo/LBJ Grasslands office right in my own backyard here in Texas so a short trip up the road and within moments I had my access pass in hand.
Now some will see $80 as a large investment, and to those who do not travel often it can be. However this pass is unlike any ticket you will buy, because it not only covers the person which purchased it but also those in their vehicle (up to 3 additional adults). In many areas of travel singular admission is between $10-$20 depending on the area, this pass single-handily pays for itself in these instances quite quickly.
Already this year, I have gone to 2 battlefields and each was around $15. Had I have purchased my pass before, a single visit to any one other location would pay for the pass itself, yet I would still have the rest of the year to keep traveling.
Fees from purchase are distributed right back into improvements for facilities as thought and care are placed into the continual betterment of the lands which make America so great. Passes do not cover cost of camping or concessionaires however they do include park entrances, and standard amenity areas. Passes are isolated to federal facilities not state facilities.
The pass can also be purchased as a shared investment. One purchaser can grant access to another by adding them to the signature line. One of the signers must always be present for use. However if you want to purchase a pass use it for your journey and then gift it to someone you can with this feature, allowing two people to experience the wonders of America at differing times.
I am very excited to hit the road the utilize this amazing pass which opens up doors of opportunity. I encourage you to do so as well and explore your outdoors.
Get your pass today online