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New England travel gift ideas #4

Posted by Patricia Harris  December 15, 2010 08:14 AM

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0000CCNatSeashore.jpg Today’s gift idea involves the federal government, so, yes, there is a bit of bureaucracy. Oh, and a long name: ''America the Beautiful--The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.'' But the idea is a good one, and the $80 pass is a great gift. It allows free entrance for a year to more than 2,000 sites administered by five federal agencies, including the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Some sites, of course, don’t charge admission, but for those that have per-person entrance fees, the America the Beautiful pass admits the pass holder and three other adults (ages 15 and under are free). For those sites that charge a per-vehicle fee, the pass covers the car and all the people who can squeeze inside. If you need further clarification, check out the web site for a handy page of definitions of such terms as "domicile," "standard entrance fee," and "non-commercial vehicle." But sarcasm aside, the pass is a great option if you are looking for a gift for a family--whether they like to learn about art and history, prefer to light out for the wilderness, or just like to have fun at the beach. Here in New England alone, some of the sites covered by the pass include the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in New Hampshire, Acadia National Park in Maine, and the Cape Cod National Seashore. And that’s just for starters. http://store.usgs.gov/pass/annual.html

Photo courtesy of National Park Service, Cape Cod National Seashore

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