Rocky Mountain Park raising fees Oct. 1 |

Rocky Mountain Park raising fees Oct. 1

This file photo was taken last July from Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. The road opened for the season on Friday, May 29, with night closures due to heavy icing on the road when temperatures drop.
Sky-Hi News file photo | Sky-Hi News

Fees for Rocky Mountain National Park are going up.

Campers and vacationers heading into Rocky this summer will not experience the higher fees, but those looking to vacation in the high country in 2016 will be looking at a steeper tab after the new fees go into effect on Oct. 1.

When they do, Rocky will add a single day pass option to its existing selection of passes. The Day Use Pass will cost $20. Campground fees are also increasing in October, rising to $26 per night from the current $20.

For those looking to spend more than one day in Rocky a Weekly Pass option will be available for $30. The Annual Park Pass will still be available and will increase to $50 and is scheduled to increase to $60 by 2017.

Currently an Automobile Pass, which is valid for a full seven days, costs $20 while the Annual Pass costs $40.

Superintendent of Rocky Mountain National Park Vaughn Baker commented on the upcoming changes.

“We are committed to keeping Rocky Mountain National Park affordable and we also want to provide visitors with the best possible experience,” stated Baker. “We feel this modest fee increase is still an incredible value when considering other family and recreational experiences one can enjoy.”

Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) is part of the National Park Service. Operational funding for the park is provided directly from U.S. Congress through appropriations. The fee program is intended to provide additional visitor enhancements within the park for tourists.

According to Park officials, 80 percent of the funds taken in by RMNP through the fee program stay within the Park with 20 percent being redistributed throughout the remainder of the National Park System.

The funds are used for a variety of projects within Rocky including renovations of campground restrooms, rehabilitation and maintenance of park trails, replacement of trailhead signs, replacement of picnic tables, parking lots, visitor centers and operating the park’s shuttle bus service.

The upcoming fee change at Rocky is part of a larger National Park Service (NPS) nationwide survey of entrance fees. In the fall of 2014 NPS conducted a review of entrance fees throughout the U.S. Staff from RMNP also began seeking public input on the issue beginning in October 2014. During the public comment period staff at Rocky received 95 formal comments related to the park’s proposed fee changes.

According to a press release issued to RMNP, “there was significantly more support for the proposed fee rate changes than opposed. Park visitors seem to be highly supportive of fees in general and making the connection with the park’s effort in providing tangible benefits to visitors through revenue.”

Rocky collects park entrance and amenity fees under the auspices of The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA). Since its inception the fee program at RMNP has provided funding for $66 million in repairs and improvements.

The Park had approximately 3.4 million visitors in 2014.

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