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National Parks free this weekend, and get $10 lifetime passes for seniors

Seniors 62 and older can get lifetime pass for $10, but not for much longer

National Parks, like the Grand Canyon, have free admission this weekend.

Photo courtesy of National Parks Service

National Parks, like the Grand Canyon, have free admission this weekend.

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In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt declared Montezuma Castle, among other national monument attractions, “of the greatest ethnological value and scientific interest.” Montezuma Castle is located near Camp Verde, Arizona. (NPS photo)

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Lake Mead National Recreation Area offers a wealth of things to do and places to go year-round. (NPS photo)

There will be a discounted opportunity to get in on some major camping and outdoor attractions this weekend.

This week is National Park Week, concluding with free admission to all 417 parks and cultural sites April 22-23. Grand Canyon and Zion are two of the biggest destinations, but Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Montezuma Castle National Monument near Camp Verde and other parks in the state are included in the bargain.

In addition, according to the National Park Service, senior citizens 62 or older can get a lifetime National Parks senior pass for only $10, but not for much longer. The pass is not just for national parks access, but also more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by five federal agencies, including the USDA Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The special $10 price is about to go up significantly and AARP estimates that the lifetime pass for senior citizens will increase to $80 before the end of 2017. The price hike comes after Congress approved the National Park Service Centennial Act in December 2016, which raises fees and sets up an endowment to help pay for projects and visitor services.

A $10 fee will be added to the overall fee to purchase the pass online or by mail. To avoid the extra $10, visit this link for places to get the pass in person.

An interagency annual pass is also available for $80 for those 61 and younger. The pass grants entry into all federally operated national parks, monuments and recreation areas.

An annual military pass is free for current active duty, reserve and National Guard members and their dependents.

Park passes can be purchased and picked up at the following district locations:

  • Prescott National Forest - Bradshaw Ranger District, 344 S Cortez St, Prescott AZ 86303, 928-443-8000
  • Prescott National Forest - Chino Valley Ranger District, 735 N Hwy 89, Chino Valley, AZ 86323, 928-777-2200
  • Prescott National Forest - Verde Ranger District, 300 East Highway 260, Camp Verde, AZ 86322, 928-567-4121

It is recommended to call to confirm the pass availability.

For more information on National Parks, visit https://www.nps.gov/findapark/national-park-week.htm.