Entrance and visitor use fees at Olympic National Park will remain the same through 2009. Acting park superintendent Sue McGill announced the decision this afternoon.
Last spring, park officials soght public to comment on a series of proposed changes to the park’s entrance and user fees, changes that were proposed to take effect in 2009. The proposal 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. Camping and overnight wilderness use fees also were to be increased.
More than 200 written and verbal comments were gathered during the public comment period.
"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," McGill said.
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 to be funded with fees in the 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.