After holding the line on prices for nine years, Rocky Mountain National Park is proposing to raise entrance and camping fees. The park also wants to add a single-day pass that would sell for $20. The standard seven-day pass would increase to $30. The park is proposing that the annual park pass increase to $50 and eventually increase to $60 by 2017. The daily camping fee would increase from $20 to $26.
Park staff are seeking feedback about the proposed fee schedule. Please email comments to the park by December 1, 2014.
"A sizable portion of Rocky Mountain National Park's visitation is one day in length," said Vaughn Baker, park superintendent. "Currently, all visitors who do not opt for an annual pass purchase a single entry pass that is valid for seven days. As an alternative to the seven day pass, we are proposing to add a single day pass to the park's option of fees."
Basic operations of the park are funded by direct appropriations from Congress. The fee program helps pay for upgrades and improvements, with 80 percent of the money collected going straight back to the park. Since the fee program was authorized by Congress in 1996, RMNP has spent about $66 million in repairs, renovations, improvements and resource restoration.
The fees help pay for:
Shuttles - The park's visitor shuttle bus system transports an average of 460,000 visitors annually throughout the Bear Lake Road corridor and to and from Estes Park. In recent years, annual operating costs and a move toward "greening the fleet" that improves fuel efficiency and a reduction in emissions and noise, has increased transit program costs. These costs are offset through revenue generated from fees.
Camping - A multi-year project is ongoing to completely renovate all restroom facilities throughout the park's campgrounds. Picnicking - A multi-year project is ongoing to replace old wooden picnic tables throughout the park with more sustainable concrete tables, significantly extending the life cycle replacement costs.
Picnicking - A multi-year project is ongoing to replace old wooden picnic tables throughout the park with more sustainable concrete tables, significantly extending the life cycle replacement costs.
Hazard Tree Mitigation - The park is among many areas along the Rocky Mountains where trees have been dying from a mountain pine beetle epidemic. Fee program funding has allowed for extensive mitigation of hazard trees in or near park facilities such as campgrounds, parking lots, road corridors, housing areas and visitor centers.
Hiking Trail Enhancements - Forty-five trailhead kiosks and sign panels have been replaced as well as maintenance and replacement of hundreds of front country and backcountry signs. Sections of approximately 100 of the park's 350 miles of trails have been maintained and reconstructed including Flattop Mountain, Dream Lake, Black Lake, Wild Basin area trails, Longs Peak, North Fork, Lawn Lake, East Inlet, North Inlet, and the Alpine Ridge Trail. Fee program funding has also afforded opportunities for a variety of Youth Corps groups such as the Student Conservation Association, Rocky Mountain, Larimer County, Americorps, Ground Work Denver and others to assist with these trail projects.
"We are committed to keeping Rocky Mountain National Park affordable and we also want to provide visitors with the best possible experience," said Baker. "We feel that our proposed fee changes are 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. As we celebrate Rocky's Centennial, these funds are critical as we move forward into the next one hundred years."