Saturday, March 1, 2014

NPS Savings

Intermittent planning stages for the upcoming Oregon/Washington trip has me looking at National Parks.

This is a point of interest, particularly in on my travels west on US Route 20 where the road travels through Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.  The road is called something entirely different while within the park, but it's essentially the same road - Route 20 on the east and west sides of the park.

So I've been researching other parks in and around the areas I'll be traveling and staying.  Mostly, to research whether or not the NPS's Interagency Annual Pass - essentially, the 'all-parks, all the time' pass - would be the way to go vs. paying the entry fee on a per park basis.  At first, I looked into the fees at a few of the western US parks I was interested.  Most fees for week-long access are $10/vehicle.  Perfectly doable.  I couldn't see spending the $80 on the year pass...

Until I researched the fee for coming through Yellowstone on the way west, and Glacier on the way home - each are $25 per vehicle.  Now I'm up to $50 for just those two parks alone... not to mention all the other smaller parks along the way that I might like to check out while I'm hanging out on the left-hand side of the country.  We're talking Grand Tetons (WY),  Craters of the Moon (ID), Crater Lake (OR),  Lewis & Clark (OR), Olympic (WA), and North Cascades (WA).

So, now I'm thinking the yearly, all-parks pass might just be the way to go.

That, and if I play my cards right, I could mail the pass home to Aaron before he leaves the Chicago area on his bike to come west... and he could get through Glacier at no additional cost (giving him back 175ish miles worth of extra fuel money).

I guess it makes more sense now.