Seniors snag park passes before fee hike

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Seniors are snapping up lifetime passes good for U.S. national parks and other recreation sites ahead of a steep price increase later this month.

The America the Beautiful Lifetime Senior Pass available to buyers 62 and older costs $10, but it's going up 700 percent, to $80, on Aug. 28.

Seniors have bought so many passes at the lower rate that some government agencies have run out and started issuing vouchers.

The passes are recognized at more than 2,000 recreation areas run by six federal agencies that include the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Pass holders driving into areas with entrance fees can also bring in traveling companions for free.

The price increase is the result of legislation passed by Congress late last year. Proceeds will go toward projects and programs aimed at enhancing the visitor experience.