A new interagency recreation pass announced last week will combine the benefits of existing recreation passes from five federal agencies into one comprehensive pass, the “America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.”
The new pass covers recreation opportunities on public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation. Visitors will need only the one pass to travel among recreation sites on the 155 national forests nationwide, all national parks, and other federal public lands. The pass applies to those locations that currently have entrance or standard amenity fees.
The new pass program, created by the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, which Congress authorized in December 2004, offers four different passes:
1. A new annual interagency pass costing $80–For visitors to multiple federal sites, the pass offers unlimited coverage of entrance and standard amenity recreation fees for a specific period of time, typically a year, beginning from the date of first use.
2. A $10 lifetime senior pass for U.S. citizens 62 or over;
3. A free lifetime access pass for citizens with permanent disabilities;
4. and A new, free annual volunteer pass for volunteers acquiring 500 hours of service on a cumulative basis.
The new program replaces the Golden Eagle, Golden Age, and the Golden Access Passports as well as the National Parks Pass. Those existing passes will remain valid until expired, lost or stolen.
The Adventure Pass will still be sold for those wishing to visit only national forests in Southern California. The Adventure Pass has an annual fee of $30 and covers standard amenity fees only for the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino National Forests.
Sales of the new pass will begin in January 2007 and will be available at federal recreation sites that charge entrance and standard amenity fees, through government internet sites, and through select third-party vendors.
The new interagency pass is good at vehicle-based entry sites for all occupants in a single, non-commercial vehicle. At walk-up sites, the pass is good for the pass holder and three adults (total of four adults). There is no charge for children under 16.
“The interagency pass is a great New Year’s gift both to the public lands and to their visitors,” said Mark Rey, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and the Environment, who oversees the Forest Service. “Annual interagency pass revenue will benefit public lands by providing funds for maintenance, new visitor services, and programs.”
He noted that 100 percent of the revenue derived from passes sold at federal recreation sites will directly benefit the selling agency and no less than 80 percent of the revenue will remain at the site where the pass was sold.
For more information about the Recreation Fee program on Southern California national forests, or to purchase the new ‘America the Beautiful’ pass beginning in January 2007, visit: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/ap/pass-options.shtml#AtB
The new pass will also be sold at http://store.usgs.gov/pass
and by phone at 1-888-275-8747, Option 1.