Voyageurs National Park Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Recreation Fee Rate Changes
The authority to charge recreational fees at national parks stems from the 2004 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Annual comparability studies are conducted to determine if amenity fees are in line with other public and private locations offering similar visitor services so that rates can be adjusted accordingly.
Recreation fee dollars collected from camping and houseboat fees fund projects that support the operation of the reservation system and directly enhance the visitor experience. This includes the cleaning and maintaining of park sites, the ongoing improvement and rehabilitation of campsite structures, and backcountry trail repairs. Recreation fees have also purchased fire rings, picnic tables and bear lockers to replace deteriorating amenities. Tour fees cover costs associated with operating the tour boat program, including fuel, boat repair and maintenance, supplies and educational tools for interpretive programs, and approximately 75% of the seasonal staff that captain the vessels and conduct tours.
New fees proposed would introduce a nominal nightly flat rate for camping during the low-use season and implement two new "Primitive" campsites along the 26-mile Kab-Ash trail. A winter equipment rental fee would help make that program self-sustaining, so that traditional means of exploring the park can continue to be offered, and replacements of snowshoes and cross country skis can be purchased as needed. A Special Interpretive Program Fee would provide the funding needed for programs that require special preparation and supplies, including north canoe tours and new programming being developed to highlight the park's recent dark sky certification. Voyageurs will always continue to provide free programs as well.
Discounts of 50% would be available for Senior and Access pass holders on tours, special interpretive programs, and winter equipment rentals.
Bob DeGross (218) 283-6606
Voyageurs National Park is requesting public comment on a proposal for recreation fee rate changes. This proposal seeks to increase current rates on existing camping amenities, houseboat permits, and tour fees, and establish new fees for low-use season camping, new primitive campsites, winter equipment rentals, and special ranger-led interpretive programs.