Friday, April 24, 2015

Shenandoah National Park Announces Entrance Fee Increase

As part of a nationwide initiative, Shenandoah National Park will begin charging increased entrance fees in two stages, beginning on May 1, 2015.

In the fall of 2014, the National Park Service began a review of entrance fees charged throughout the National Park System, in part, to bring greater consistency to fees being charged at parks of similar size and complexity. To solicit public input, Shenandoah National Park launched a civic engagement campaign in December 2014 which included a series of public meetings aimed at discussing the increase needed to bring the park's fees into compliance with other similar parks in the nation.

During the public comment period, the park received over 240 formal comments through e-mails, letters and on-line comments, as well as, over 100 comments on the park's Facebook page. While the majority of comments supported an increase, many people felt that the original proposal was too much of an increase to make all at once. To respond to public comments, the park modified the proposal to phase implementation of entrance fee increases beginning in 2015, and followed by a second and final increase on January 1, 2017.

"The fee program is critical to the park," stated Jim Northup, Shenandoah National Park Superintendent. "Eighty percent of fees collected stay right here in the park and are put to work improving facilities and services important to visitors.Without this funding, park staff would have to forego these projects. The additional revenue from this increase will allow us to sustain this world-class park."

Entrance fees have supported a wide range of projects that improve park conditions and visitor experience including, rehabilitating trails and trailhead signs, developing and installing exhibits in visitor centers, improving park water systems, rehabilitating wastewater treatment plants, providing ranger programs, improving ADA accessibility at Rapidan Camp and park comfort stations, and maintaining open vistas at park overlooks.Additional revenue raised by a fee increase may be used to rehabilitate/rebuild Front Royal Entrance Station for increased staff safety and improved access, restore wetlands in Big Meadows campground by removing a loop in and establishing replacement sites in a less sensitive area, as well as, restore backcountry stone structures, retaining walls, bridge structures, and huts.

The entrance fees and schedule are as follows:

Park Annual Pass
Effective May 1, 2015 = $40
Effective January 1, 2017 = $50

Per Vehicle (1-7 days) 
Effective May 1, 2015 = $20
Effective January 1, 2017 = $25

Per Person (1-7 days) 
Effective May 1, 2015 = $10
Effective January 1, 2017 = $10

Motorcycle (1-7 days) 
Effective May 1, 2015 = $15
Effective January 1, 2017 = $20

Beginning this spring, the Park will also charge a $10 per-person fee for visitors participating in special ranger-led van tours to Rapidan Camp, President Hoover's former retreat and a National Historic Landmark located within the Park. Children 12 and under will not be charged for this tour. The Park has also decided to move the group campsite currently at Loft Mountain to an underutilized area at Dundo Picnic Grounds, reducing conflicts within the main campground.Two 20-person group sites will be established at Dundo. The cost per site will be $45.

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