Seniors buy national park passes at Prime Hook

On Aug. 28, the cost of a lifetime senior pass goes way up
July 31, 2017

Story Location:
11978 Turkle Pond Rd.
Milton  Delaware  19958
United States

The office of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge has become a surprisingly busy place.

It's summer, so the marsh is rich with color and herons glide above the sparkling water. But recently the attraction has been in the refuge office itself.

That's where anyone 62 and older can buy a senior lifetime pass to national parks and other federal lands at a cost of $10.

The pass, officially the America the Beautiful Lifetime Senior Pass, covers entrance fees at parks nationwide, from Assateague Island and the Everglades to Grand Canyon, Yosemite and many others.

Prime Hook Refuge Manager Art Coppola said the rush is on, because starting Monday, Aug. 28, the cost of a lifetime senior pass goes up to $80.

He said Sussex residents have been stopping in for passes, but Prime Hook is attracting seniors from a wide region.

"People are taking the ferry over from New Jersey and driving down from Pennsylvania to buy their passes," Coppola said – as many as 100 people a day, with an equal number sold at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, north of Dover.

All that's required is a driver's license, passport or official ID to verify age, and $10 in cash or check, as the refuge is not processing credit cards.

Sales are keeping him busy, but with help from refuge biologist Bart Wilson, Coppola said, "We enjoy selling passes because it encourages people to come out to Prime Hook."

Passes also entitle seniors to receive discounts on some tours, campsites and other activities at many parks, and they also cover entrance and day fees at properties managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

This is day trip anyone eligible should not put off. Head to the park office, off Turkle Pond Road in Milton, to purchase a lifetime senior pass, and while you're there, don't forget to spend a few minutes enjoying the beauty of Prime Hook.

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