Proposed Fee Rates at Gulf Islands National Seashore

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Gulf Islands National Seashore is requesting public comment on proposed increases to entrance fees and to camping fees at Fort Pickens campground. The National Park Service established a new nationwide entrance fee rate structure in 2014, with a goal for all parks to implement the new rates by 2017. The standardized rate structure grouped similar parks into one of four different tiers. Gulf Islands National Seashore was placed with other national seashores in Group 2, with a seven day pass of $20 and an annual pass of $40. Gulf Islands began phasing in this new rate in 2015 by implementing Group 1 rates.

Current Fee - Group 1
Private Vehicle $15
Individual $7
Motorcycle $10
Annual Pass $30

Proposed Fee - Group 2
Private Vehicle $20
Individual $10
Motorcycle $15
Annual Pass $40

Entrance passes are valid for seven days and provide access to all areas within the National Seashore including Fort Pickens, Johnson Beach, Opal Beach, Fort Barrancas, and Okaloosa. Entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years of age or to holders of the Senior Pass (age 62 or older), Active Duty Military Pass (free annually), Access Pass (permanently disabled), and America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. These passes are available at Gulf Islands National Seashore entrance stations. There are also numerous fee-free days scheduled throughout the year when entrance fees are waived for all visitors.

The Seashore is also planning to establish a tent-only section in the Fort Pickens campground. Tent camping fees would remain at the current rate of $26 per night. RV campsites with hookups at the Fort Pickens campground are proposed to increase from $26 per night to $40 per night. Senior and Access Pass holders receive a 50% discount on camping fees. Gulf Islands last increased its camping fees in 2012 from $20 to $26 per night. The proposed new rate would make the camping fees more comparable with those of other RV camping facilities in the area to avoid unfair competition, and to offset increased utility costs for hookups.

"We are committed to keeping the park affordable," says Superintendent Dan Brown, "but also want to provide visitors with the best possible experience." Brown points out that most of the money from entrance and camping fees is retained by Gulf Islands National Seashore and used to help repair, improve, or replace visitor facilities. Recent projects have included installing new restrooms with hot water showers in all loops of the Fort Pickens campground, and restoration of the historic mine storeroom building. Planned projects include construction of new handicap accessible campsites at the Fort Pickens campground, a new free shuttle service within the Fort Pickens Area, the repair and opening of the historic Battery 234 Observation Tower, and replacing the picnic pavilion and restrooms at Battery Worth. The proposed fee changes, if approved, would take effect October 1, 2017.

Gulf Islands National Seashore is a strong economic engine for the surrounding area. In 2016, 4.8 million visitors to the seashore spent $206 million in communities near the park, creating an economic benefit of $251.8 million which supported 3,000 local area jobs.

To provide feedback about the proposed fee schedule, you may send written comments to:

Gulf Islands National Seashore, Fee Program
1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway
Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
Attn: Proposed Fee Rates

or Comment online by clicking the Open for Comment tab.

Comments are due by July 7, 2017.