National Parks in Colorado Increase Fees

ESTES PARK, CO - SEPTEMBER 25: Cars drive into Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, CO on September 25, 2014.   National park fees may be going up.  (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)

ESTES PARK, CO – SEPTEMBER 25: Cars drive into Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, CO on September 25, 2014. National park fees may be going up. (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)

This showed up today in the Denver Post.

Dig a little deeper if you are planning to visit a prominent national park next year.

The National Park Service is proposing to boost entrance fees at 131 of the 401 public properties it manages.

“The proposed increases in park entrance fees will allow us to invest in the improvements necessary to provide the best possible park experience to our visitors,” said Park Service director Jon Jarvis in an Aug. 14 memo to regional directors urging them to foster public support for the first fee increase since 2008.

With an eye toward sprucing up for the Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016, Jarvis is asking regional directors to conduct public outreach this fall and winter so fees can be implemented as early as next summer.

Park superintendents will set their own schedules for rolling out the new fees.

Public meetings surveying community leaders and local politicians should be completed by early March 2015, according to Jarvis.

The proposed fee increases for Colorado range from 50 percent at Rocky Mountain National Park to more than 150 percent at Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Increases that big should not be rushed, said Kitty Benzar, a Durango public lands advocate whose Western Slope No-Fee Coalition lobbies for unfettered access to undeveloped public land.

Benzar and her group are not opposed to fees at national parks.

There is too much to excerpt that is good, so take a look at the whole thing.

This reminded me of a previous post here comparing Rocky Mountain Park and the nearby heavily used Brainard Lakes.

It also makes me think.. the idea is to transfer land to the Park Service because they have more money. They may have more money because they charge for access. People with dogs, ATV’s, hunters and others can find themselves locked out. Then the Park Service increases fees, because it does cost money. IMHO, from the balcony, this doesn’t make sense. What would make sense is to standardize approaches to recreation and access across FWS,NPS, BLM and FS. There is a site called recreation.gov for reservations, but wouldn’t it be effective and efficient and easy for the public to understand if policies were harmonized? I see a “federal recreation commission” suggesting ways to harmonize with recommendations for Congress.

During R administrations there are always efforts highlighted to make government more efficient. This would be something a D administration could do that would be good for people and for the taxpayers’ bottom line.

2 Comments

    • There hasn’t been such a thing as a Golden Eagle Passport for years. As regards National Parks, it was replaced first with the National Parks Pass, and that was subsequently replaced with the “America The Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass” commonly known as either the “ATB Pass” or the “Interagency Pass.”
      The ATB comes in three flavors: the annual version available to anyone for $80 or free to active duty military and their dependents; the senior version available to those age 62 and over for $10 and good for the rest of your life; the access version available free to anyone with a permanent disability and good for the rest of your life.
      An ATB pass of any flavor covers the entrance fee to all National Parks and the Standard Amenity Fee at developed Forest Service and BLM day use sites. The senior and access versions also confer a 50% discount for campground fees at all federal campgrounds.
      These entrance fee increases don’t (yet) change those terms. However the agencies are chomping at the bit to raise pass prices and/or reduce the benefits of the senior and access passes. In addition, the rec-fee bill pending in the House (HR5204) would restrict purchase of the annual pass to citizens and permanent residents – the many international visitors to the Parks would have to pay “a la carte.” I predict that would open up all sorts of possibilities for racial/ethnic profiling at fee sites.

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