Rocky Mountain National Park announces move ahead with smaller fee increase | SummitDaily.com

Rocky Mountain National Park announces move ahead with smaller fee increase

Sky-Hi News staff report

The National Park Service announced Thursday that Rocky Mountain National Park will modify its entrance fees to provide additional funding for infrastructure and maintenance needs that enhance the visitor experience — but not at the double rate proposed last year.

Effective June 1, costs for all of the park’s passes will increase.

Rocky Mountain National Park will continue to offer a day pass, which will increase from $20 to $25. The seven-day vehicle pass will increase from $30 to $35, the seven-day motorcycle pass will increase from $25 to $30. The park’s annual pass will increase from $60 to $70.

The NPS in October proposed a plan to adopt seasonal pricing at Rocky Mountain National Park and 16 other national parks to raise additional revenue for infrastructure and maintenance needs, a proposal that would nearly double the entrance fee to Rocky Mountain National Park in its peak season. After more than 190,000 comments from the public to the U.S. Department of Interior, that fee increase was put on indefinite hold.

The fee structure announced today addresses many concerns and ideas provided by the public on how best to address fee revenue for parks.

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Revenue from entrance fees remains in the National Park Service and helps ensure a quality experience for all who visit. In Rocky Mountain National Park, 80 percent of entrance fees stay in the park and are devoted to spending that supports the visitor.  The other 20 percent of entry fee income is shared with other national parks for their projects.

“We appreciate all park stakeholders who engaged and commented on the proposed fee increase including elected officials, community leaders, park visitors and our neighbors," said park superintendent Darla Sidles. "We are committed to keeping Rocky Mountain National Park affordable and providing visitors with the best possible experience. This fee increase is still an incredible value when considering other family and recreational experiences.

Eighty percent of those funds, according to Sidles, stays in Rocky to benefit visitors and improve the park, such as operating the park’s visitor shuttle bus system, providing food storage lockers at campgrounds and restoring willow and aspen habitat.

The additional revenue will also help the park address its $84 million deferred maintenance backlog on projects such as rehabilitating numerous trails like the Onahu Trail and Cub Lake Trail, renovating restroom facilities, replacing a failing septic system at Timber Creek Campground, and mitigating beetle-killed hazard trees in or near park facilities such as picnic areas and trailheads, she explained.

Rocky Mountain National Park has had an entrance fee since 1939. The current fee rate has been in effect since October 2015.