SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS) — Visiting our national parks and federal recreational areas is a summertime ritual for millions of tourists.

While only 118 of 417 National Park Service sites have an entrance fee, that luxury is also costly and in need of a fix. Federal budgets for park maintenance and visitor upgrades have been shrinking, CBS Minnesota reports.

“The National Park Service has a $12 billion backlog of projects,” said Sharon Stiteler, a National Park Service Ranger. “So, if you’ve ever been to a park and wondered why a trail or bathroom is closed, it’s because we don’t have the money to maintain that.”

To help make up the shortage, entry fees have been rising. In December, Congress passed the Centennial Legislation to establish an endowment to pay for improvements and visitor services.

As a result, one of the sweetest of deals – the $10 senior lifetime pass – will see a substantial price hike.

Beginning Aug. 28, the price of the lifetime senior pass will increase to $80.

To lock in at the current price, seniors who are 62 and older are flocking to National Park Service visitors’ centers.


Already, long lines and busy signals are greeting many seniors who are trying to cash in on the deal.

Passes are also available at for $10, plus an additional $10 service fee.