Timpanogos Cave National Monument Ends Season Early Due To Sequestration

Cave tours at Timpanogos Cave National Monument fell victim to budget sequestration this year, with the season closing a few weeks early. Photo of flowstone in the cave by NPS.

Cave tours at Timpanogos Cave National Monument in Utah have fallen victim to the budget sequestration, as the monument's superintendent decided to end the tours early rather than laying off staff.

The final tours of the season were this past Sunday. The Swinging Bridge Picnic Area will remain open, but the cave trail will be closed to hikers at the Quarter Way gate, approximately one-third of a mile above the trailhead, as park staff continue repairs to damage caused by rock fall in recent storms.

Traditionally, tours are offered into early October depending on the weather, but the park shortened its spring and fall operating hours in response to budget reductions as part of this year’s federal budget sequestration. The park hopes to return to a longer operating season next summer, but final plans cannot be made until the fiscal year 2014 budget is received.

But with the budget in mind, monument officials are proposing to increase cave tour fees next year by $1 to afford a reservations system for tour tickets. Monument officials want to line up with www.recreation.gov so visitors can purchase tickets in advance via an on-line reservation site or via telephone.

Under this system, the monument must pay a service fee for each ticket sold. Until recently, the service fee was $3 per ticket. In March 2013, the monument sought public comment on a proposal to join the system at this price, and received multiple comments supporting the services offered through the NRRS but opposing the $3 per ticket fee, a monument release said.

The monument withdrew its proposal as a result of these comments.

Since then, the National Park Service has negotiated a new lower service fee with Reserve America, the current NRRS contractor. Timpanogos Cave has modified its proposal accordingly. Under its new plan, the monument would add a $1 service fee to each ticket to cover the cost of the new service.

Comments

Hey, I got an idea... Charge what the tours cost. If people dont

want to take the tours at that price, then it isn't worth having the tours in the first place.

Is that the chirp of crickets I hear?

I've always thought NPS admission and tour prices are too low for what they offer. I'd easily pay $10-20 to see an NPS cave alone.

It boggles my mind when people complain about fees. When I brought a friend to Yosemite and SEKI and he gasped at the $20/car fees, all I could think was "You spent $1000 to get and stay here...another $20 makes you cringe? This is the best bang for the buck you'll have on your whole trip."