Having gone five years without an increase in entrance fees, officials at Colorado National Monument are proposing a slight boost in the rates for 2011.
Under the proposed increases, it would cost $10 per car and $5 per hiker/cyclist to enter the monument that stands in western Colorado. Current fees are $7 and $4, respectively. In addition, monument officials are proposing to raise the current annual pass of $20 to $25.
The proposed fee increases will not change the commercial sedan, van, or bus tour rates, which vary between $25 for the sedans, $40 for the vans and small buses seating fewer than 26 people, and $100 for buses seating 26 or more people.
Also proposed to cost more are sites in the monument's Saddlehorn Campground. It currently costs $10 per night to stay there, and the proposal would double that to $20 a night. This campground includes upgraded restrooms with running water and flush toilets, trailer and tent pads, grills for cooking, and a volunteer campground host to assist campers. The Saddlehorn Campground is the lowest priced campground in the region, something that monument officials say adversely impacts commercial campgrounds that charge more.
The campground fee has not been increased in 15 years.
Colorado National Monument is located in fast-growing Mesa County on the Western Slope of Colorado. The Monument receives more than 715,000 visitors annually, which is some of the highest visitation of any of the national parks in the vicinity, with only Arches National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area receiving more visitors.
The entrance fees and campground fees are used by Colorado National Monument to make improvements to the park’s visitor facilities and park trails as well as staff the park’s entrance stations. In recent years, fee money has paid for the design of new visitor exhibits for the park’s visitor center, new restrooms in the campground, new wayside exhibits along Rim Rock Drive, hazardous material removal from public facilities, and monetary contributions to the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center.
You can comment on these proposals through June 30 by going to the park’s website www.nps.gov/colm and clicking the "Contact Us" button (located in the left hand navigation) to provide online feedback. For those who prefer to send letters, mail them to Colorado National Monument, Fruita CO 81521.