Going underground at Mammoth Cave National Park could cost you a buck or two more in 2014 under a proposal up for public review.
Park officials currently are seeking comment on an increase in cave tour rates by $1 to $2. The authority to charge recreational fees at national parks stems from the 2004 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.
“We would like to hear what our visitors and neighbors think about our proposal to increase the cost of the cave tour fees,” said Mammoth Cave Superintendent Sarah Craighead. “At present we are charging the same for cave tours as we did in 2007. The cost of doing business has gone up.”
The park proposes to raise the fee on eight cave tours that require bus transportation: New Entrance, Frozen Niagara, Grand Avenue, Great Onyx, Snowball, Wild Cave, Introduction to Caving, and the Violet City Lantern tours. The cost of bus transportation has risen $2 per tour over the past seven years.
Park staff are also required to compare the cost of Mammoth Cave tours with the cost of privately operated cave tours.
“The recreation fee program has funded millions of dollars in initiatives and projects at Mammoth Cave,” added Craighead. “Part of the new visitor center was funding with fee dollars, but we also use it to repair trails, roads and campsites, cover the cost of tour guides, and mitigate against the spread of White-Nose Syndrome in bats. Fee dollars also support the Park environmental education programs which work with many local schools.”
Written comments may be submitted August 16 to September 16 through the National Park Service planning website.