Discounts for seniors and people with disabilities will remain in place at U.S. Forest Service campgrounds in 2010.
In mid-March the Forest Service announced it has scrapped plans to reduce the 50% discount it has long offered to seniors and the disabled when they visit Forest Service campgrounds operated by private businesses.
In late 2009, the Oregonian newspaper was one of several news outlets that reported the Forest Service had proposed changes to fees charged at its privately operated campgrounds, reducing the discount from 50% to 10%. The reduction would have impacted holders of Golden Age and Golden Access Passports and Interagency Senior and Access Passes.
The Forest Service received more than 4,000 comments during a 60-day public notice and comment period. Based on that feedback, the agency announced in March that plans to reduce the discount had been shelved.
The Forest Service issued this statement from chief Tom Tidwell: “Each year more than 175 million people enjoy recreational opportunities on National Forests and Grasslands, and that includes more than 15 million visits to our campgrounds. Particularly in these difficult economic times, it is very important to maintain affordable access to our National Forests and Grasslands, giving people easy ways to recreate and find respite in the great outdoors.”
People age 62 and older pay a one-time $10 fee for the Senior Pass. Lifetime Access Passes for people with disabilities are free. This news might be a good excuse to go celebrate with a camping trip.
-- T.D. Wood