MTNF selling ‘America the Beautiful’ park passes

America the Beautiful passes connect you with your public lands. There are several types of America the Beautiful passes – the Annual, the Senior (two options, lifetime or annual), the Access, and the Military Pass.

A pass-holder is able to gain free entry into most federally managed recreation areas across the nation and even pay 50 percent less in camping fees at many campgrounds.

Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) for the Mark Twain National Forest sell these interagency passes; and they have sold a record number of passes already this year.

This summer, the America the Beautiful Senior pass rose in price from $10 for a lifetime pass to $80 (with a $20 annual option added). Even at the new price, the pass is still a fantastic deal.

For anyone planning to travel and visit national parks, national forests, Bureau of Land Management areas, fish and wildlife refuges, or U.S. Army Corps of Engineer recreation sites, the pass will quickly pay for itself.

Public knowledge that the fee was increasing on Aug. 28 did lead to a significant upswing in demand for the passes. Mark Twain National Forest sold 528 senior passes in 2016. This year, CSRs have already sold 2,828 senior passes — more than five times the normal amount.

Joyce Stufflebean, the CSR for the Mark Twain National Forest supervisor’s office in Rolla, has connected 1,002 people with America the Beautiful senior passes in 2017 to date.

Stufflebean said, although she was very busy, it was well worth it to assist so many people.

“I helped one woman that was a spry 90-plus years of age,” she said. “It made me happy to help her out, and inspired me that you can still get out and enjoy your national forests and national parks no matter what age you are!”

Stufflebean and other CSRs even implemented a voucher program once passes ran out, so people who made it to the office to buy a pass at the $10 rate could get one before the price changed, even when passes were out of stock at the office.

Many employees across the Mark Twain National Forest assisted with processing pass sales to meet the high demand this summer, including mailing out passes to those who were issued vouchers.

Mark Twain National Forest’s district offices in Potosi, Salem, Ava, Doniphan, and Houston all sell America the Beautiful passes.

The annual pass is $80 for the year, and is available for anyone to purchase. The senior pass is available for anyone 62 years of age or older at a price of $80 for a lifetime pass, or $20 for an annual pass.

The access pass is available for free to anyone that can show documentation of a permanent disability. The military pass can be obtained by any active duty military member for free. Learn more about passes at www.fs.fed.us/visit/passes-permits/recreation-fees-passes.

CSRs on the Mark Twain National Forest have helped thousands of people connect with their public lands through pass sales.

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