Entrance and visitor use fees at Olympic will remain at current levels through 2009, announced Olympic National Park Acting Superintendent Sue McGill today.
"Over 200 people provided comments last year about the fee increases we proposed for 2009," said McGill. "We learned through this process that people care deeply about Olympic National Park, and they care deeply that it be accessible and affordable for everyone, regardless of economic status or ability to pay."
At Olympic, fees provide about $1.8 million each year for visitor facilities and services. Since 1997, approximately $14.3 million in fee revenue has helped fund projects throughout the park, including trail maintenance, replacement trail bridges, accessible restrooms at park trailheads, replacement picnic tables and fire grates at campgrounds, new exhibits and educational materials and many other projects and visitor services.
Some of the projects slated for coming years include restoring grounds at the Quinault Valley's historic Kestner Homestead, replacing underground electrical lines to Hurricane Ridge, trail reconstruction, replacing exhibits at Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and improving accessibility of park walkways.
"Fee revenue provides extensive benefits to park visitors, but it's vitally important that we balance those benefits with the public's ability and willingness to pay," said McGill.
Last spring, Olympic invited the public to comment on a series of proposed changes to the park's entrance and user fees; all changes were proposed to take effect in 2009. These included increasing the park's seven day entrance pass from $15 to $25 for a vehicle and from $5 to $12 for an individual. The Olympic National Park Annual Pass was proposed to change from its current rate of $30 to $50. Changes were also proposed for camping fees and overnight wilderness use fees. Comments were accepted throughout the spring, summer and autumn; over 150 written comments were received and verbal comments were gathered during discussions between park staff and members of seven area civic groups.
Olympic National Park Fee Program Office
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362