Zion National Park invites comments on proposed increase in fees

SPRINGDALE — Zion National Park and other National Park Service units that collect entrance fees and recreation fees from park visitors are beginning public engagement to seek comments on possible changes in park fees. Zion is proposing an increase to its camping, entrance, and wilderness permit fees. The last time entrance fees were increased at Zion was in 2007. The current camping fees date back to 2004 and wilderness permit fees to 2005.

Under the authority of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, Zion National Park retains 80 percent of the recreation fees it collects. Fee revenue from Zion National Park entrance stations and campgrounds has provided funding for over 24 major projects since 2010, the park said in a statement released Monday. All of the projects focused on improvements to visitor services, facilities, and visitor safety.

“The fee revenue is critical to the park,” the park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh said. “Funds from entrance, camping and other fees are used to improve and maintain our facilities and provide valuable visitor services.”

More than 70 percent of the entrance fees are used to operate the shuttle bus system in the park and the Town of Springdale. The bus system improves park operations and visitor experience by decreasing vehicle congestion in Zion Canyon, improving air quality, and providing visitors safe and easy access to popular park features, the park’s statement said. The shuttle buses are 15 years old and maintenance costs are increasing. The increase in entrance fees would help maintain shuttle facilities, as well as the aging buses and help to begin the replacement of the fleet.

Below is a comparison of current and proposed entrance fees provided by the park.

Entrance Current Fee Proposed Fee
1-7 Day Private, Non-Commercial Vehicle $25 per vehicle $30 per vehicle
1-7 Day Motorcycle $12 per person $25 per motorcycle
1-7 Day Individual Per Person (hiker, bicyclist, etc.) $12 per person $15 per person
Zion Annual Pass $50 $60

Increased campground revenue will be used to maintain and rehabilitate the park’s three campgrounds, the park’s statement said. Projects could include rehabilitating and upgrading restrooms and other facilities to Americans with Disabilities Act standards.  In addition, revenue has not kept pace with rising electric power costs and campsites with electric service have been operating at a deficit. Below is a comparison of current and proposed fees for campgrounds.

Watchman and South Campgrounds (single sites) Current Fee Proposed Fee
Campsites without electric hookups $16 $20
Campsites with electric hookups $18-$20 $30

Group camp fees are also proposed to be changed from a per-person fee of $3 to a flat rate per group size. Below is the proposed fee structure per group size.

Number of People in Group Proposed Fee
7-15 $50
16-25 $90
26-40 $130

A fee increase for wilderness permits is proposed to ensure wilderness resources and experience are protected for those visiting today and in the future. Wilderness permit fees are used to answer public inquiries on wilderness activities and permit requirements by visitors in person, on line and by telephone; provide preventative search and rescue patrols; monitor wilderness resource condition; and maintain wilderness campsites and trails.

Number of People in Group Current Fee Proposed Fee
1-2 $10 $15
3-7 $15 $20
8-12 $20 $25

National park entrance fees are not charged for persons under 16 years of age. Costs for passes covered under the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program will not be changed at this time, the park’s statement said. These passes include: Interagency Annual, Interagency Senior, Interagency Military, Interagency Access, and Volunteer. Additional information on each pass can be found at the National Parks website. These passes can be purchased at any National Park site.

Public comment invited

The public comment period is open for 45 days from Dec. 9 through Jan. 23, 2015. Please access the National Park Service planning website to comment. A public open house for the proposed fee increases for Zion National Park and its sister parks, Cedar Breaks National Monument and Bryce Canyon National Park, will be held on Jan. 8, from 5-7 p.m., at the Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Office, 581 N. Main Street in Cedar City.

UPDATE: Zion National Park submitted the following Web page link as preferred for comments:  www.parkplanning.nps.gov/zion.

Zion National Park revenue

Last year, more than 2.8 million park visitors visited Zion National Park, contributing $147,051,900 to the local economy and supporting 1,763 jobs related to the local tourism industry.

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19 Comments

  • My Evil Twin December 9, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    It never stops. Give us MORE! WE WANT MORE! How about cutting back on some of the administrative dead wood in the park. Salary savings could account for a good increase in your budget.

    • Bender December 9, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      Typical Tea Party/Right Wing Loon response. Fed agency tries to keep up with inflation on user fees and AM radio dittohead can’t be bothered to pay his fair share.

      • My Evil Twin December 9, 2014 at 4:09 pm

        More like Fed agency tries to raise fees, implement “protection” rules that protect nothing, harass the park visitors, and do their best to keep people out of “THEIR PARK!” Yes, that is how NPS thinks of all the National Parks. They are not parks for the public, the parks are THEIRS, and it just grates on them to see the general public in THEIR parks! And the concessions? The NPS hates the concessions and their employees with a passion.
        If you can doubt that statement, then you are either a porky er parkie yourself, of you are someone who never visits a park. Or you are a blind, right wing liberal fool. Or likely ALL of the above.

        • MY EVIL TWITCH December 9, 2014 at 11:22 pm

          I support all these rate hikes and the government goes out of their way to making these parks safe for all visitors but it take money to maintain the parks and they are doing a fantastic job please visit these parks and enjoy what nature has give us and that would get you out of you mothers basement. Twin

    • SPUD MCKENZIE December 10, 2014 at 6:12 am

      I support these fee increases the government is doing a good job of keeping the parks maintained maybe you should visit the parks and get out of your mothers basement

  • mxdirtboy December 9, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    I will do some research and find out the average annual salary for the rangers. if it is as high as I believe it is, im sure we know where we can make some cuts. is a national park not a right as a U.S. citizen to visit? why is the entrance fee so large for locals and U.S. citizens?

    • My Evil Twin December 9, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Actually, I don’t believe it is the rangers that are the cause of money problems. It is the top heavy, administrations in every park. I am NOT singling out Zion with this. It happens in every park there is. It happens in every government agency there is.

    • Captain Obvious January 17, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      Because Congress has decided to underfund all government agencies (except DOD). Thus leaving it to federal land agencies (with Congress’ approval) to tax the acutal users.

      And no National Parks are not a guarantee in the constitution.

  • mxdirtboy December 9, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    yep average is:( bottom to top)=$38k-106k.. wow national park rangers are the problem, not us local poor people who want to visit on a regular basis. I get wanting to charge some for out of country and out of town. but we need to see some cuts, it’s my tax dollars. think I will quit paying taxes. sorry gov empoloyees, no blank check FOR EVERYTHING,FOR ALLTIME.

    • Koolaid December 9, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Seniors, the really old ones, get an annual senior pass for what, $20? That’s one of the benefits they get for voting for those who authorize those wages.

      • Captain Obvious January 17, 2015 at 1:32 pm

        Actually they get a $10 pass for life. Let’s the senior pass holder and anyone in their vehicle or up to four people, dependent on site. It is good at FWS, NPS, BOR, USFS, and BLM sites charging entrance fees.

  • arrowone December 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    And to think there were no fees a short time ago when the Clinton Administration started them. Public ground my arse. Think I’ll camp in a tent instead of cheaper room rates in Mesquite. Go figure.

    • Captain Obvious January 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      You do realize that National Parks have been around for almost 100 years (hence way before Clinton was in office).

      National Parks have been charging for YEARS.

  • Vet December 9, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Fees in all national parks are all going up, the fees that zions park gets dos not stay in zions park this money is pooled and is distributed to All national parks as needed. Many national parks do not get enough visitors to support them selfs so they take money from others.
    My brother in law grooms the trails at yellow stone his pay is very little but he has good Heath insurance and retirement.
    Park administrators do get wages that are in the 6 figures.

  • me December 10, 2014 at 11:28 am

    national parks are in a state of transfer, elite parks no public.

  • Joe Smith December 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Doesn’t help that anyone over 65 can get into all the parks for free…

    • Captain Obvious January 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Actually it is 62 and it costs the senior $10 for a senior pass good for life.

  • Burton December 10, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    The vast majority of visitors to the park are tourists from abroad. Everywhere I go on vacation I expect to pay a higher price than locals. There SHOULD be a discounted rate for Utah citizens if you have proof of residency. I lived near the park because I love the park. Wages are not great in utah. They will price the locals right out of the park.

    • Captain Obvious January 17, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      Why should locals get in cheaper to a NP? I can understand state residents getting into a STATE Park cheaper.

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