Higher fees take effect at Rocky Mountain National Park | SkyHiNews.com

Higher fees take effect at Rocky Mountain National Park

Staff Report

Rocky Mountain National Park increased entrance and camping fees on Thursday, Oct. 1.

Because of Rocky's proximity to the populated Colorado Front Range, the park added a single day pass to the existing option of fees. This "Day Use Pass" is $20 while the weekly pass increased to $30 for those visitors who intend to enjoy the park for multiple days.

The annual park pass increased to $50 and will increase to $60 by 2017. Campground fees increased to $18 a night for winter rates and $26 a night for summer rates.

"We are committed to keeping Rocky Mountain National Park affordable and providing visitors with the best possible experience," according to a statement released by Park officials. "This fee increase is still an incredible value when considering other family and recreational experiences one can enjoy. Plus, 80 percent of those funds stay right here in Rocky to benefit visitors."

The statement says the fee program is intended to provide for various enhancements to visitor services and facilities. Entrance fees have supported a wide range of projects that improve the park and visitor experiences, including renovating all campground restroom facilities, rehabilitating and maintaining approximately 100 of the park's 350 miles of trails, replacing trailhead signs, replacing picnic tables throughout the park, mitigating hazard trees in or near park facilities such as campgrounds, parking lots, road corridors and visitor centers, and operating the park's visitor shuttle bus system.

In fall 2014, the National Park Service conducted a nationwide review of entrance fees. Rocky Mountain National Park staff solicited public input beginning in October 2014. The park received 95 formal comments with significantly more support for the proposed fee rate changes than opposed.

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The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) is the legislation under which the park collects entrance and amenity fees. This law allows parks to retain 80 percent of the fees collected for use on projects that directly benefit visitors. The remaining 20 percent is distributed throughout the National Park System. Since the beginning of FLREA and its predecessor program Fee Demo, the park has spent over $66 million in repairs, renovations, improvements and resource restoration.

In January 2005, Rocky Mountain National Park was the last of the larger size parks in the Intermountain Region to adopt the $20 per vehicle weekly rate. That same year the annual pass increased to $35, and to $40 in 2009, the last year of any increase in fees. Last year, Rocky Mountain National Park was the fifth most visited national park in the United States.

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