First in December 2009, came the news that the U.S. Forest Service was looking to end the half-off discount program for seniors over the age of 62-years-old that started in the 1960’s. Seniors were granted the “Golden Age” passport and the disabled were granted the “Golden Access” passport, both offered 50% off of the price of federal campgrounds run by private concessionaires…for life.
Now, however, it seems that the U.S. Forest Service is having second thoughts about that lifetime guarantee. The jury is currently out on the decision to do away with the 50% off discount and instead change the discount to 10% off for these same groups. For retired RVer’s who often use federal campgrounds for RV vacations, this could be a significant price increase and a large burden on those living on Social Security that hasn’t increased in years. To be fair, Jim Bedwell, director of recreation for the Forest Service points out there’s still free admission, still a discount at sites managed directly by the government, and more benefits to come, including discounts on rentals of “day-use” facilities such as picnic grounds.
The second blow that seems to be going against retirement RV owners is the fact that many state parks might be closed because of State budget cuts. Some State officials think that closing State Parks will help solve their budget woes that they are currently facing. Whether closing State Parks will actually help budget problems is yet to be seen, but there are some naysayers and RV travel supporters out there that suggest that closing State Parks will not have the implications that State’s hope. Reasons listed include the fact that:
1. State Park attendance continued to be strong in 2009, even during a recession
2. Building and maintaining State Parks helps to create jobs
3. State Parks help to promote tourism, and more.
What do you think? Have the recent developments in the closures of parks and increase in park fees tainted the dream of retirement RVing that you had when you first went out to buy an RV and charted out your dream retirement? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment.