Capitol Reef National Park proposes new entrance fees
Apr 18, 2007 | 1245 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Capitol Reef National Park is proposing an increase in the vehicle entrance fee from $5 to $10 which would take effect January 1, 2008. In addition, the entrance fee for pedestrians or bicyclists passing through the fee station would be increased from $3 to $5 per person.

    Capitol Reef National Park only charges an entrance fee for access to the nine-mile Scenic Drive. All entrance fees are valid for a period of seven days from purchase.

    The last vehicle entrance fee increase at the park occurred in 2000 when the fee was increased from $4 to $5. Camping fees remain unchanged for now. The fee for a regular campsite is $10 per night.

    From 1998 to 2004, Capitol Reef National Park had authority under the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program to keep 80 percent of the revenue from entrance fees and use it to complete backlogged maintenance and resource management projects. In 2004, the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act authorized Capitol Reef NP to keep 100 percent of the recreation fee revenue generated at the park for park improvement, and visitor services projects.

    Since 1998, the park has used recreation fee revenue to complete several important projects including an upgrade of the visitor center theater, rehabilitation of hiking trails, and rehabilitation of the historic orchard irrigation system.

    In 2003 a study group recommended that the National Park Service (NPS) simplify and standardize entrance fees across parks of similar types, group parks into categories, and set fees based on those categories. Furthermore, they recommended the NPS standardize length of stay covered by an entrance pass across parks of similar types.

    Currently the NPS charges 17 different entrance fee amounts for four different lengths of stay. The NPS established a committee to review the recommendations and develop implementation strategies.

    In January, 2004, the committee outlined a proposed strategy and several models for entrance fee prices. The goal was to have entrance fees that were aligned with NPS goals and objectives, were fair and equitable, were consistent yet flexible, contributed to capital improvements and deferred maintenance requirements and expenses, were simple to administer, and easy to understand.

    The group discussed entrance fees and identified significant factors for fee rates such as increasing costs of collecting fees, increasing labor costs for improvement projects, and the need to fund and/or subsidize transportation system costs with entrance fee revenue.

    Following the committee's recommendations, the National Park Service established a tier system for park entrance fees. Capitol Reef has been placed in Tier I in which all parks will charge a vehicle entrance fee of $10. This is the lowest vehicle entrance fee of all the tiers in the system.

    The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004 requires that Capitol Reef National Park provide an opportunity for the public to participate and/or comment on the proposed fee increase. Public input is important and will be considered as this proposal is developed, park officials said.

    Comments may be mailed to: Superintendent, Capitol Reef National Park, HC 70 Box 15, Torrey, UT 84775 or emailed to: Comments will be accepted through April 30.

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