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NPCA, NPHA Want National Park Service To Raise Entrance Fees To Parks


A coalition led by the National Parks Conservation Association and the National Park Hospitality Association is asking National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis to increase entrance fees in parks that now charge them, and to expand such fees into parks that don't have them.

Doing so, they argue, would provide the Park Service with greater revenues as the agency moves into its second century beginning in 2016. 

In a letter sent to the director earlier this month, the groups urge Director Jarvis to implement proposals outlined earlier this year at a conference they organized in Washington.

Also supporting the call for higher fees are the American Hiking Society, theŽ American Recreation Coalition, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, theŽ National Tour Association, theŽ Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association, theŽ Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, theŽ Southeast Tourism Society, and the Western States Tourism Policy Council.

The proposal goes beyond simply raising or instituting entrance fees. It also asks the Park Service to consider allowing:

* Tour operators to increase their fees;

* Fees to be boosted during the high seasons;

* Daily entrance fees, as opposed to the current weekly approach, and;

* An "international visitor" package that would include a short-term entrance pass as well as "maps, services available on mobile devices and other park information and would have special souvenir value."

Under the heading of GREAT PARK EXPERIENCES & SUSTAINABLE FUNDING, the groups made the following suggestions to the director:

The National Park Service has a unique opportunity to make some important changes in its park visitor fee structure that would result in significantly increased revenue for the national park system in its next 100 years while enhancing the park visitor experience. Currently, NPS collects entrance fees, recreation use fees, transportation fees and other special fees under a variety of legal authorities, including the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004. The changes below could be done under existing authorities.

NPS should adopt a Centennial park fee program with two goals: (1) increased revenue for park operations that will enhance the National Park Service’s capacity to serve the visitor; and (2) a program that allows visitors to continue to enjoy the parks at a reasonable cost.

Some important ideas to consider include:

* A “dynamic” fee structure that (1) provides for higher fees during heavy visitation periods and reduced entrance, campground, backcountry and other user fees when parks are less visited; and (2) creates seasonal and shorter-duration passes for targeted groups, such as an international visitor pass that could include maps, services available on mobile devices and other park information and would have special souvenir value.

* Implementing individual park entrance fees at the level the National Park Service has already established for different park classifications, and modifying those fees at appropriate intervals

* Considering expanding the number of reduced fee days and free days to encourage park use by people qualifying for federal assistance programs

* Assessing alternatives to the current “carload” pricing, including charging per person fees for each adult after the first two adults in a vehicle, and consideration of charging per day fees.

* Reducing the volunteer hours required to receive a single park entrance pass, and accelerate earning of passes through volunteer efforts at parks unable to collect fees

* Reviewing park units not now collecting fees to determine whether there should be additional units with entrance and related fees for all or portions of the year, using technology to reduce collection costs and add convenience for visitors

* Increasing vital services to visitors served by tour operators to be offset by appropriate fees with adequate planning notice before implementation


Thank you, Jim. My point exactly.

As to competitive forces at work in relation to park visits, I believe Rick B's point (and perhaps dahkota's in a earlier post) was that there are numerous unique experiences that can only be enjoyed in a single park, whether it be watching an eruption of Old Faithful, or a sunset from Pima Point at Grand Canyon, or walking through the house where Lincoln once lived. In those cases, there is no competition.

No Rick, the competitve forces will have them decide if the go to Yellowstone, Denali, Disney World or just go to a free National Forest or beach.

Curiously enough, one of today's headlines.

By the way, market force guru's, by competitive you mean that people decide which of the various Yellowstones they will see Old Faithful in? Or which of the several competitive Denali's they will attempt to climb?

I'm curious, smokiesbackpacker, how many current or former NPS employees do you think regularly post on NPT? i recognize about 4 names. You seem to believe that anyone who is not as utterly opposed to the backcountry camping fee in the Smokies as you are is either an NPS employee or a former one. As I have pointed out, I think your take on the fee is a defensible position. (Although your idea that fees go to NPS employees' annuities is laughable.) I hope you will grant the same courtesy to those who either are in favor of the fee, or, like me, have no opinion on the issue. And, as you know, I am a former NPS employee, one who, unfortunately, never got a chance to work in the Smokies. And most of the former NPS employees post under their names and do not hide behind anonymity.


nevermind. not stooping...

ecbuck, my mistake..."if" this is their goal. (It is one of the goals listed by the group proposing this change)

the NPS is trying to account for supply and demand

Yes, that would be appropriate if the NPS's mission is to maximize revenue.

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