Procrastinating nature lovers ages 62 and older could miss out on this deal.
Their cost for a lifetime pass for visiting national parks and federal operated recreation sites will leap to $80 from $10 by year’s end, according to AARP, which has been working to get the word out about the change.
Money from the passes — officially called the America the Beautiful-National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass — pays for major projects and enhanced services.
Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed the legislation for the funding in December.
After the price hike, an annual $20 pass can be bought and applied to the total cost. According to AARP, the $10 fee has been in place since 1994.
You can buy the pass online with this link: https://store.usgs.gov/senior-pass
A note on the U.S. Geological Survey website selling the passes says to allow 10 weeks for processing. You also can call the USGS for more information about the online store, or if you have problems placing your order: 888-275-8747.
A mail-in option also is available at the site.
You will need to upload or send copies of documentation proving U.S. citizenship or permanent residence and birth date. Qualifying documents include a driver’s license, passport or state-issued ID.
An online or mail pass purchase costs an additional $10 processing fee.
You also can buy a pass at federal recreation areas, with proof of age and residency. Among that list, visitors can go to:
▪ Olympic National Park’s main visitor center in Port Angeles, 3002 Mount Angeles Road, as well as its staffed entrance booths during business hours.
▪ Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, 100 Brown Farm Road NE, Olympia. Peter Yager, visitor services assistant at the refuge, said it still has the lifetime passes and has been able to keep them in stock despite high demand.
▪ Olympic National Forest office, 1835 Black Lake Blvd. SW, Olympia. Hours 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
▪ Mount Rainier National Park, Nisqually entrance and the Carbon River Ranger Station for now; White River and Stevens Canyon entrance stations will have the passes when they open later this spring.
▪ Outdoor Recreation Information Center — Seattle Flagship REI store. (Call ahead for availability: 206-470-4060).
Representatives for Mount Rainier National Park said they were not aware of problems with availability of the passes for those buying at the park.
They were “aware of increased interest from people who want to obtain the pass before the rate changes,” park Superintendent Randy King wrote Tuesday via email.
The U.S. Geological Survey’s online store notes it does not expect changes to the pass price “within the next few months.” It was unclear when the rate change will take place.