PUT-IN-BAY OHIO –  Put-in-Bay Seniors are lining up at Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial’s Visitor Center to purchase a lifetime Senior Pass before August 28 when the pass increases from $10 to $80. The Lifetime Put-in-Bay Seniors Pass has been $10 since the fee was enacted in 1994. Congress created a free annual pass for those 62 and older in 1972. In 1974 they converted it to a free lifetime pass.

“We’re seeing a dramatic increase in Put-in-Bay Seniors Pass sales since the National Park Service announced earlier this month the final date of August 27 for the $10 Senior Pass,” said Superintendent Barbara Fearon. “We’re happy to accommodate as many seniors as we can with the $ 10-lifetime pass.” Superintendent Fearon said Park Rangers have sold about 280 Senior Passes since the announcement July 12. Park Rangers sold 751 Senior Passes in 2016 and as of July 20 have sold 460 this year. The park currently has about 220 passes in inventory and another 1,000 $10 Senior Passes will arrive August 1. “We anticipate a high demand for the current Senior Pass,” Superintendent Fearon said, “and we want to be prepared to meet the needs of park visitors.”

In 2016 Congress legislated an increase in the Senior Pass as part of the National Park Service’s Centennial. The legislation tied the cost of the Lifetime Senior Pass to Annual America the Beautiful Pass that is currently $80. The legislation also created an Annual Senior Pass for $20 and the ability for seniors to trade in their Annual Senior Passes and pay any difference in the $80 cost. For example, a senior who purchases an annual $20 pass this year and in 2018 could turn in those two passes and $40 cash in 2019 to obtain a Lifetime Senior Pass.

The passes must be purchased by the same individual. Put-in-Bay Superintendent Fearon said the Park already has 100 new Lifetime Put-in-Bay Seniors Passes and 100 Annual Senior passes on hand for the August 28 start date. She emphasized that Senior Passes issued for free in 1974 will continue to be valid for the lifetime of the pass holder as will any sold since 1994. Each pass allows the pass holder and three other adults to enter a per person fee area free of charge. At areas that charge a fee per vehicle, the pass holder and their passengers in a non-commercial vehicle are admitted free.

Six federal agencies accept the Senior Pass at their locations that charge a fee. Not all locations require a fee. The agencies are the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The additional funds generated through the Lifetime and Annual Senior Pass sales will benefit the National Park Foundation Endowment and the National Park Service Centennial Challenge Fund, Superintendent Fearon said.

The first $10 million collected each fiscal year in Senior Pass sales will go to the National Park Foundation Endowment, managed by the National Park Foundation, the official charity of the National Park Service. The funds will pay for programs and activities at National Parks. Any money collected beyond $10 million will benefit the National Parks Centennial Challenge Fund which covers the costs of signature projects and programs that emphasize deferred maintenance, improving visitor service facilities and require one-one matching funds from non-federal organizations. A complete list of sites where the Senior Pass is sold can be found online at the United States Government Store.