Proposed rate changes for campgrounds and backcountry permits at Death Valley National Park
The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public comments by October 25 on proposed fee changes for backcountry permits and campgrounds in Death Valley National Park. The NPS proposes to increase nightly campsite fees by $4 to $8. Some backcountry permits would become reservable in advance on Recreation.gov with a fee.
The NPS made permits mandatory for overnight use of the most popular backcountry areas in the park starting last year. This was done to provide high-quality experiences for people while limiting impacts. Backcountry permits are required for roadside camping along Cottonwood Canyon, Marble Canyon, Echo Canyon, Hole in the Wall, and Greenwater Valley Roads, and for backpacking in the Cottonwood Canyon and Marble Canyon areas.
Currently these permits are free but are only available on the same day and in person during business hours at Furnace Creek Visitor Center or Stovepipe Wells Ranger Station. The NPS seeks to issue these backcountry permits online through Recreation.gov. This will allow people to acquire their backcountry permits online and plan in advance. The proposed transition from issuing permits in visitor centers to online will benefit other park visitors who will no longer have to wait in line while a park ranger issues a backcountry permit, which typically takes 15 minutes.
Most of the money the park charges for entrance, camping, and backcountry permits stays in the park to provide visitor services and to maintain public facilities, such as campgrounds. A portion of fees charged through Recreation.gov will go to the contractor that operates the reservation service.
Death Valley National Park is proposing the following fee rate changes:
Texas Spring Campground (standard site) Currently: $16/night, Proposed: $20/night
Mesquite Spring Campground (standard site) Currently: $14/night, proposed: $20/night
Sunset Campground (standard site) Currently: $14/night, proposed: $18/night
Stovepipe Wells Campground (standard site) Currently: $14/night, proposed: $18/night
Furnace Creek Campground (standard site) Currently: $22/night, proposed: $30/night
Furnace Creek Campground (RV site, full hookups) Currently: $36/night, proposed: $44/night
Interagency Senior or Access Passholders pay half price for standard sites, and a reduced rate for RV sites.
Furnace Creek Campground (small group site) Currently: $35/night, proposed: $40/night
Large Group Furnace Creek Campground (large group site): No change proposed: $60/night
Backpacking p[ermit for Cottonwood Canyon-Marble Canyon, currently free, $10/permit proposed.
Backcountry Roadside Campsite along Echo Canyon Road, Hole in the Wall Road, Greenwater Valley Road, Cottonwood Canyon Road, and Marble Canyon Road, currently free, $10/night/site proposed.
Camping will still be free at Emigrant Campground, Wildrose Campground, Thorndike Campground, Mahogany Flat Campground, Eureka Dunes Campground, Homestake Campground, and Saline Valley Campground.
Backcountry permits for areas not listed above will continue to be free and optional. People should check nps.gov/deva to learn where roadside camping and backpacking are allowed.
The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) requires that recreational fees are appropriate to the benefits and services provided. Fees charged by the NPS must be comparable to fees charged by others in the local area for similar benefits and services.
Death Valley National Park has not changed campground fees since 2017. Following public engagement and NPS approval, new fees up to the amounts outlined below could be implemented as soon as February 2024.
Public engagement is an important part of the park's planning process. Death Valley National Park is accepting public comments on the proposed fee increases until October 25.
Sep 25, 2023 - Oct 25, 2023
1. What comments do you have about the proposal to increase nightly fees for most campsites by $4 to $8?
2. What comments do you have about the proposal to no longer issue mandatory backcountry permits in person same day (no advance reservations) during business hours at Furnace Creek Visitor Center and Stovepipe Wells Ranger Station (for free), and to instead use Recreation.gov to reserve and issue backcounty permits (for a fee of $10/group/permit for Cottonwood/Marble backpacking and $10/night/site for roadside camping)?
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