Get Outside, Georgia!

At last, a real benefit of gettin’ a little older

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Aging, as my wife’s grandmother used to say, is not for the faint of heart.

But it does bring with it certain perks. You know - things like wisdom. Well,yeah. Tell that to my knees after a day of hiking in the mountains. Maybe it’ll make ‘em feel better.

Age does bring another perk, however, and that’s the “senior discount.”

Now that I’ve reached “that certain age,” I find that I’m able to take advantage of occasional “seniors” deals – including things like special pricing at the Golden Corral buffet. It’s the occasional reward for making it this far more or less intact. Life is good.

But the best age-related perk I’ve seen in a long time is the deal of a lifetime on a lifetime senior pass (specifically, the “America the Beautiful” national parks and federal recreational lands pass) to federal recreation sites. It covers a very long list of places I’d love to go, among them Atlanta’s own Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

For many years, I’ve bought an annual parking pass to CRNRA. Having that pass meant I didn’t have to worry about paying the daily parking fee every time I visit for fishing or hiking. The $35 annual fee was a bargain.

But now that I’m older, if not wiser, the deal suddenly becomes even sweeter.

Here’s the deal: If you’re 62 or older, and for a very limited time, you can get a lifetime senior pass for $10, if you pick it up in person, or $20, if you order online.

Yes. Lifetime senior pass. $10.

This lifetime senior pass is an incredible bargain if you enjoy Georgia’s outdoors – but (as they say) you’ve got to act fast. Really, you do. On Aug. 28, the lifetime senior pass goes up to $80.

Until then, you can purchase the $10 lifetime senior pass in person at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area headquarters visitor center at the Island Ford Unit.

You can also buy it online, though an additional $10 processing fee applies to online purchases. That makes the online version $20 – still an incredible bargain! To make an online purchase, visit store.usgs.gov/senior-pass. You’ll be sent to yourpassnow.com, where you can purchase the pass.

And don’t forget. It goes up on Aug. 28.

What does this pass do for you? Basically, it covers entrance or access for the pass owner and accompanying passengers in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle at a host of federally operated recreation sites across the country.

In addition to covering the daily entrance fee at sites like our very own Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (and that’s of particular interest if you, like me, enjoy trout fishing and hiking), the pass covers “access to, and use of, BLM, FWS, NPS, Reclamation, USDA-FS and USACE sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees (day use).” That’s a fancy way of saying that, at those sites, the daily parking fee goes away.

Additionally, the pass provides a 50 percent discount on some “expanded amenity fees” at those site, including such things as camping. I plan to take advantage of that part of the picture this fall.

Note that this is not a state parks pass and that it does not cover parking fees or admission to state parks and state historic sites. You’ll still need a state park pass for that. But at federal sites you’ll be covered.

Even after the new fee structure goes into effect, however, there will still be a great deal out there for seniors. Starting Aug. 28, a new $20 annual Senior Pass will become available. There are many other pass options too, including several for those who have not yet reached my exalted and distinguished age. Those passes are a fine deal too – but if you can get in on the lifetime pass, that’s even better.

Remember: 62 or over. Senior pass. Great price, but only for a few days more. Get it now because (don’t forget) it goes up on Aug. 28.


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