The combination of a suddenly coming of age baby boomer population coupled with the current fiscal climate is resulting in lots of people retiring.
This is alarming the U.S. Forest Service (FS), that says too many people are getting old all at once, and soon too many will be taking advantage of big discounts offered to senior citizens to camp in national forests.
Consequently, the service is proposing to slash the existing discount of 50 percent for those with with the Federal Senior Pass to 10 percent.
The FS posted its proposal in the Federal Register in December and the public has until Feb. 1, 2010, to comment on it. John Heil, a regional spokesman for the service in San Francisco, said the agency hasn't set a date to put the plan into effect.
If this change takes effect, those that use FS campsites can expect to see their camping budget take a big hit. And you can expect that concessionaires, that operate about half of all the national forest campgrounds and over 80% of reservable campsites will be rallying for the change. According to the service, discounts cost concessioners $4 million in 2007 and will cost $6 million by 2022.
In the year 2000, 7 percent of campers were receiving senior discounts, according to the Federal Register notice. By 2007, that percentage had grown to 11 percent. The FS says discounts will grow to 17 percent of the total by 2022.
According to U.S. Census Bureau projections, the proportion of U.S. residents 62 years old and older will surge 50 percent from 47 million in 2008 to 70.7 million in 2022, with seniors' representing from 15 percent to nearly 21 percent of the population.
You can comment at www.regulations.gov.