Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Public Meeting Scheduled to Seek Public Input on Higher Camping Fees in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

A modest increase in camping fees has been proposed for the year round Wilderness Road Campground in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. This is the only campground in the park that allows vehicle access, and provide bathroom and shower facilities. Camping rates for sites without electricity would increase from $12.00 to $14.00 and sites with electricity would increase from $17.00 to $20.00. Sites would be one half price for those having an Interagency Senior or Access Pass. Group campsites would increase from $30.00 to $35.00. A public meeting to seek public input and outline these increases is scheduled for Tuesday, February 26th from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the national park visitor center. Visitors can also provide comments via the park's web site: www.nps.gov/cuga or send comments to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, 91 Bartlett Park Road, Middlesboro, KY 40965. Comments are to be received by the park no later than March 15th, 2013.

Park Superintendent Mark Woods explains the camping price increases as the first since 2002. He further spells out that "a comparability study, involving local state parks and private organizations with similar operations was conducted and that price increases would bring Cumberland Gap more in line with the price structure of the local community and the businesses that are similar in nature to the park's. This price adjustment would remove any possibility of the park unintentionally undercutting local and regional businesses."

Woods notes a list of major improvements made over the past ten years to the 160 site campground which is enjoyed annually by an average of 103,395 visitors. "In May 2012, we completed a six-month $861,690 project which involved the installation of new water and waste-water systems within the campground. This was essential to improve the efficiency of park operations by reducing maintenance costs and costs related to deficiencies in the condition of the existing systems, provide a safe and healthy environment for both visitors and park staff, remove a potential source of surface water contamination and protect park natural and cultural resources and values. The new system includes 4000 linear feet of leach field trenches, four new septic tanks, new sewer pipe throughout, and eight new sanitary manholes. Six monitoring wells were also installed around the leach field. Flow meters were installed to more accurately monitor the water usage at each comfort station."

"Additional enhancements over the years include the upgrade of electrical sites to include 20, 30, and 50 amp service. The campground's three comfort stations have been completely renovated for improved accessibility and to also provide for families with children. The campground contact station has been retrofitted into a camp store managed by park partner Eastern National. The campground amphitheater has also been renovated to allow for multi-media and music programs. New picnic tables, fire rings, and improved signage have been added to individual sites. Accessibility has been improved at specific sites throughout the campground. Bulletin cases, wayside exhibits, and improved signage have been added to enhance visitors' experiences and to alert them to other recreational opportunities within the park. Total cost of all these improvements is close to 1.5 million dollars."

For more information about Cumberland Gap National Historical Park please call (606) 248-2817.


Jeff
Hiking in the Smokies

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