Limited Availability of Senior Passes at Upstate New York National Parks

The frenzy for buying a $10 senior pass before the price increases on August 28 has created a shortage of passes available in the Albany Capital District. In order to meet requirements set by legislation passed by Congress in December 2016, the price of the America the Beautiful- National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass will increase from $10 to $80. Parks are encouraging people to call ahead to make sure passes are in stock.

Fort Stanwix National Monument, Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, Saratoga National Historical Park, and Women’s Rights National Historical Park do not carry the passes. “People are coming to our sites daily looking for the passes,” explained Saratoga Superintendent, Amy Bracewell. “Since we are sites that do not charge an entrance fee, we do not sell the passes. Please call before making the drive to the park.” 

The historic homes that make up the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites in Hyde Park, New York do carry the passes. Please call the visitor center at (845) 229-9115 to confirm the passes are in stock. “We are issuing approximately 150-200 senior passes per day,” noted Park Superintendent Larry Turk. “If you do call or come by when we have sold out, rest assured that we get new shipments of passes regularly.”
The pass can be purchased for $10 before August 28 at a national park or other Federal recreation area that charges an entrance or standard amenity (day use) fee. 

The pass can also be obtained by mail or on line, for $10 before August 28 but there will be an additional $10 charge for processing, for a total of $20. Due to expected high order volume, there could be delays with online and mail order processing of up to several months, but purchases before August 28 are guaranteed the $10 price.    
Other offices in the area that may still have passes include the Finger Lakes National Forest Hector Station, the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, and the Green Mountain National Forest office in Manchester, VT. Visitors are again encouraged to call ahead to confirm the availability of passes.
Pass holders are given lifetime access to more than 2,000 sites and parks. The fee increase will support critical investments in maintenance projects at national parks and federal recreational lands nationwide.

The Senior Pass has cost $10 since 1994. Until August 28, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are 62 years or older can purchase the lifetime Senior Pass for $10. Previously purchased
lifetime Golden Age or Senior Passes will be honored for the lifetime of the pass holder.
The Senior Pass can be used at sites managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Funds from passes are used to enhance the visitor experience and support priority projects and programs.

The legislation requires that the price of the lifetime Senior Pass be the same as the Interagency Annual Pass, which is currently $80. The legislation also introduces a new annual Senior Pass that can be purchased for $20. Seniors who purchase annual Senior Passes for four years can trade them in for a lifetime Senior Pass at no additional charge. 
The Senior Pass covers all entrance fees and standard amenity (day use) fees and may provide senior discounts for things such as tours or campsites. The pass also waives the entrance fee for travelling companions. At per-vehicle fee sites, the pass admits the pass holder and all passengers in a noncommercial vehicle. At a per-person fee site, the pass admits the pass holder and three other adults. Children under 16 are always admitted free.

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