NP Pass

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grashley

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We are planning a long weekend to Mammoth Cave this weekend.  Under 200 miles.  I have a NPS Access Pass, which, to date, has allowed free entry to all the NPS sites we have visited.  GREAT DEAL!  At Mammoth Cave, the tours give ME half price with the pass, but my wife must have a pass in HER name to get the discount.

Since my pass got ? price camping at the COE campground this weekend, admission for the car to Skyline Drive, Grand Canyon NP, Arches NP, Bryce NP, and others, is it worth the cost for a Senior pass for her as well?  How often is it needed where mine will not work for both of us?

The pass saves $8.50 for the cave tour we plan to take.
 

UTTransplant

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Cedar Falls, IA
DH and I both have one. If you ever drive separately it is invaluable. For example, the pass holder stays at a NP campground and the other goes to town to buy groceries. Without the second pass, the grocery shopper will have to pay admittance to the park. Now, if you are always together, no problem. But however much I love my DH, I really don?t want to be next to him 100% of the time! It is also handy to just have a spare pass in case the primary get a lost or stolen.
 

Debra17

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Colorado
Guided tours are one of the few exceptions. Special use fees may be another but I?m not sure. This would be at a heavily used area that may charge a fee to access a certain hiking trail for example. If you think you will participate in several guided tours it may worthwhile to get the pass. One option would be to purchase an annual senior pass for $20 if you think you would save $20 during the year.  After 4 annual passes have been purchased in consecutive years, they can be be traded in for a lifetime pass. So the final cost is the same.
 

John Stephens

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Cape Coral, FL
I ran into the same problem this summer while booking a tour in the cave. I won't get my wife a pass now that they have gone up in price because it is seldom you actually run into pricing such as this. The pass is going to get you into the NP's free to anyone in your vehicle so the only time a second one will come in handy is for tours such as this.

I believe the lifetime pass now costs $80. I bought mine in 2016 for $10.
 

Oldgator73

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Dover, DE & Mouth of Wilson, VA
If your spouse does not have a pass and leaves the park w/o you, can?t they just take the paper thingy that sits on the dash to get back in the park. I don?t think folks that don?t have a pass have to pay each time they leave and re-enter.
 

Old_Crow

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Tom's Place, California
Gator, if you've got a pass, they merely wave you through the gate.  You don't get a receipt like the people who pay. 
My wife and I both carry a pass.  When she turned 62 we went to the NF office and got her one before I took her out for her birthday dinner.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
At this time without research I can not advise.
When I got my Senior Pass it was 10 bucks. so if it saves you 8.50 on ONE event. well that makes it a buck 50. and if you go to TWO events where it works you are in the green.

BUT there was talk of raising the price a while ago. Since "I got mine" as they say.. I do not know if they raised the price or not. 
 

Old_Crow

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Yeah, the cost of the lifetime pass went to $80 last year.  If you travel a lot, and stay at a lot of federal parks like we do, it's still a good deal. 
Hit three national parks and you've paid for the pass for the rest of your life.
 

Oldgator73

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Larry N. said:
You'd have one of those hanging thingies for the campground, but not for the NP or NF itself.

I think what i?m Saying is that hangy thing should get you back in the park without paying. Folks that don?t have the pass and are staying in the CG need something to get back into the park.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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West Palm Beach, FL
I don't think you can generalize much about the need for a 2nd NP pass.  Entrance procedures vary by park - some give pass holders a receipt or ticket while others may not. Likewise, what the the NP pass covers varies by park, especially parks that have vendor operated services or facilities.  We were in one last month that gave everybody in the car a wrist  band, whether paid entry or Park Pass.

I worked one summer for a vendor that operated a large USFS park with a campground a day use area and several group sites with pavilions. Initially they did not accept the park pass for anything and there were several complaints to the USFS by visitors.  The USFS contract manager relayed the complaints to us but noted the management contract gave us total authority to assess fees for services and entry.  Our management decided they would accept the NP Pass for the park entry fee ($5/vehicle at the time) but would not discount camping or group site & pavilion fees.
 

grashley

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Western Kentucky
There are several passes currently available, per NPS web site.
Annual Senior Pass      $20
Lifetime Senior Pass    $80  4 consecutive year annual passes may be exchanged for a Lifetime Pass
Access Pass                Are FREE for permanent disabled people.
Active Military            FREE  Annual pass
And others

I have an Access Pass

I understand the CONVENIENCE of two passes when camped in a NPS area.  I understand Concessionaire areas. 
My question is when / where have you been REQUIRED two passes? 
My DW wii NOT drive that great big F350 unless her life depended on it.  Then she would consider the options.

Your comments are much appreciated.
 

ArdraF

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Feb 12, 2006
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10,693
We used the park pass with Jerry's name for years but finally got me one too.  First was the special fee for Fiery Furnace at Arches.  Jerry got half price but I paid full so we decided to get my own.  Then there's entry with a large group of friends.  We split people between two cars and each car has to have it's own pass.  We've had at least one or two times where it wouldn't have worked if we didn't each have our own pass because none of the others had one..

Re the case of going grocery shopping out of the park, you don't have any receipt or anything hanging.  You just show your pass for reentry so you do need that pass or pay again.  And, I've noticed in the last couple years they've started asking for a photo ID that should match the name on the park pass.  With that happening you can't just take your husband's card and use it for reentry.

If you plan to use the national parks a lot, then you probably should get your own pass.

ArdraF
 

chindog

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Feb 19, 2015
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144
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Crestview, FL
We were at Mammoth Cave last week.  I had my pass, and my wife didn't, but we both got the tour for half price since she was with me.  In fact, there were two other couples with us, and one couple both had their passes, and the other couple had left them at the campground.  They just switched partners for buying tickets, and both couples got tour tickets at half price.
 

Senator

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Jun 14, 2014
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244
Location
Eagan, MN
While you are at Mammoth, Be sure to stop at Kentucky Down Under and feed the kangaroos.  Go in the AM while they are still hungry.  Well worth it.

I did the grand tour, a 4-mile trip.  Well worth it.  I wore a t-shirt and jeans, it was plenty warm.

As a disabled vet, my pass is free....
 

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