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Finally Got My $80 Worth

For many years now, I've possessed an America the Beautiful pass, often called a national parks pass, also referred to as the Interagency Pass. Besides national parks, you can use it for entry into a large number of forests, wildlife refuges, monuments, and recreation areas. When I lived in Colorado, however, I only used it for Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Brainard Lake, even though it covered 64 sites. Living in the west, I had many other places to go besides fee-based areas. I also travel often with other America the Beautiful pass holders, so I haven't always needed mine to get in places. 

This year, I bought one in Maine in October to go to Acadia, and then didn't use it for almost six months. In most places I traveled, I hiked in state parks or forests that were free to enter. In West Virginia, New River Gorge had not yet been named a national park. In Hot Springs, the national park is free. Even though I don't mind simply supporting our public lands, it would be nice just one year to use a full $80 worth of entry fees. Well, this is the year. In Tucson in April, I pulled the pass back out of my glove box and used it multiple times for Saguaro National Park and Sabino Recreation area, getting a little closer to that magic number. 

And then Oregon. All the trailheads in the Mt. Hood Recreation area have a $5 daily fee (or $30 annually) that's covered by America the Beautiful. I spent 4 days hiking up there with friends at the tail end of my stay.

woman's legs dangling from log over flowing river

three women on a trail beneath a fallen tree

Then, on my way down to California, I hiked at the Newberry Volcanic National Monument, also $5 for the day.

dead tree in front of field of volcanic rock

And of course I drove the Crater Lake ($30) Rim Road on my way out of state. I'm very glad I didn't have to pay for that since all I saw was snow and fog. So I've certainly reached $80 by now, but if I haven't, over the next few weeks, I'll be visiting Whiskeytown, Lassen Volcanic National Park, and several other beautiful, protected, national areas I won't have to pay to enter...and hopefully won't have to wait in line for either