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National Parks Pass available

September 19, 2005

If you're planning to visit one of the big national parks this year, or if you're a regular visitor to Tri-State area parks, you might be interested in checking out the National Parks Pass.

Part economics and part philanthropy, the purchase of a pass can save you money and help preserve national parks.

The pass costs $50 and is valid for one year. It gives the user free admission to any national park that charges an entrance fee.

If a park has a per-vehicle entrance fee, the pass admits all passengers in the vehicle. If the park charges a per-person fee, the pass admits the pass signee, spouse, children and parents.

It does not cover camping, parking, tour and concession fees. It is nontransferable.

Citizens and permanent U.S. residents ages 62 and older may purchase the Golden Age Passport for $10.

In addition to free lifetime admission to national parks, the pass offers a 50 percent discount on federal-use fees for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, parking, boat launching and tours.

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Lifetime admission is free to the blind and permanently disabled who use the Golden Access Passport.

Both passes must be purchased in person and are available wherever the National Parks Pass is sold.

Locally, access to some parks is free, while others charge a nominal fee.

It costs $4 per person or $6 per family for a three-day pass to visit the museum and see the film at Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg.

It costs $6 per vehicle for a three-day pass to get into Harpers Ferry (W.Va.) National Historical Park. The fee for people arriving by foot, bicycle or motorcycle is $4 per person.

A visit to the battlefields at Manassas in Virginia and Valley Forge in Pennsylvania or a trip to Great Falls Park in McLean, Va., costs $3 per person.

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