Entrance, Campground Fees Rising In Some National Parks
It's getting a bit more expensive to visit some national parks, with entrance fees rising at Wind Cave and Jewel Cave national parks in South Dakota, and camping fees going up at Sequoia National Park in California.
At Wind Cave and Jewel Cave, where officials say they need the extra money to make ends meet, the entrance fees will go up $3 and $4, respectively, on April 30.
“We never like to raise fees, but this revenue source provides funding for a variety of projects designed to benefit visitors,” said Wind Cave Superintendent Vidal Dávila. “Here, we are building a new airlock at the Walk-In Entrance this winter using fee revenue. At Jewel Cave, they funded new visitor center exhibits using cave tour revenue.”
Rates for Jewel Cave’s Scenic and Historic Lantern Tours will increase from $8 to $12 for adults and from $4 to $8 for youth ages 6-16.The Wild Caving Tour price will be $31, up from $27.
At Wind Cave, prices for the Natural Entrance, Fairgrounds, and Candlelight Tours will increase from $9 to $12 for adults and from $4.50 to $6 for youth 6-16. The Garden of Eden Tour will increase from $7 to $10 for adults and from $3.50 to $5 for youth 6 to 16 years. The Wild Cave Tour will change from $23 to $30.
Camping fees at the Elk Mountain Campground at Wind Cave also will increase, from $12 a night per site during the summer to $18 a night per site. The new price for group camping is $40 per night.
At both caves, children 5 and under are free. Holders of the Golden Age or Senior Pass, along with Golden Access Pass, are half price.
At Sequoia, nightly fees for campsites in the Lodgepole, Dorst Creek, Buckeye Flat, and Potwisha campgrounds will increase to $22 on May 1. This will be the first fee increase since 2003. Park officials say the increase -- $2 per night at Lodgepole and Dorst Creek and $4 per night at Buckeye Flat and Potwisha-- is needed to cover the cost of using recreation.gov to reserve campsites, and to pay for things such as campground staff, campground improvements, and development of trails and outdoor exhibits.
Both Potwisha and Buckeye Flat campgrounds will be on the reservation system for the first time this year.
Starting May 1, reservations will be available year round for campsites at Potwisha Campground with a limited number of first-come, first-served sites available during the busiest season (summer). Reservations will be necessary from May 21-September 29 at Buckeye Flat Campground.
Reservations for both campgrounds may be made up to 6 months in advance at (877) 444-6777 or www.recreation.gov