Nearly every national park, monument and recreation area charges a fee for entry, and fees can add up in the Western states, where such places are practically on every corner.
On a recent one-week trip, we visited five national parks, five national monuments and several national recreation areas. The fees, if we'd paid them separately, would have amounted to more than $100.
Instead, we bought one National Parks Pass for $50. The pass allows one private vehicle and its passengers, or one pass holder and their immediate family, to enter any of the 214 national parks, plus all national monuments and recreation areas, for one year.
Even though our vacation is over, we'll be able to use the pass again and again right here at home. Ohio has only one national park, Cuyahoga Valley, but the pass gives us free entry to other sites like the First Ladies' Library in Canton, Perry's Peace Memorial on Kelley's Island, the James A. Garfield National Historic Site near Cleveland, and the Johnstown Flood National Memorial in Johnstown, Pa.
With the pass comes a map of all national areas, a welcome kit, and an included subscription to the GoParks quarterly newsletter.
Information on the pass is at www.nationalparks.org or www.nps.org on the Web.