MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., September 20, 2017 – Mammoth Cave National Park Superintendent Barclay Trimble announced today that the Park is seeking public comment on a proposed increase in user fees, which would take effect in 2018. Public comment will be accepted from September 20 through October 13, 2017.
“We would like to hear what our visitors and neighbors think about the proposal to increase the user fees in the park,” said Trimble. “Some of these rates have not changed in several years, while the cost of doing business has gone up every year.”
Written comments may be submitted through the National Park Service planning website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/MACA.
The authority to charge recreational fees at national parks stems from the 2004 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.
“We anticipate this increase in park fees will provide additional revenue for use in projects that benefit our visitors,” added Trimble. “We plan to use the new funds to help reduce our $94 million deferred maintenance backlog, improve visitor services, and ensure quality interpretive experiences.”
The general cave tours would increase by roughly $1 to $3, and specialty cave tour would increase by approximately $3 to $6. Houchin Ferry camping would increase from $12 to $15. A new fee of $10 would be established for backcountry and river camping.
“The new backcountry fee will allow people to reserve their campsite online from across the country, and allow visitors to preplan a trip to the park,” said Trimble. “Previously, backcountry sites were only available by permit at the visitor center when a visitor walked in.”
Another new fee ($2) would be established for recharging electric vehicles. Later this year the park will begin installing two level-2 charging stations in the visitor center parking lot.
Park staff are required to compare the cost of Mammoth Cave fees with the cost of similar services in the local area, which was completed utilizing a comparability model.
At Mammoth Cave, 80 percent of the money collected is used in the park to provide facilities and services that have direct benefit to park visitors. The remaining 20 percent helps support projects in the 270 national park units that do not charge entrance fees, like nearby Abraham Lincoln Birthplace NHP in Hodgenville, Ky.
“The recreation fee program is a great asset to Mammoth Cave,” added Trimble. “In the past, we have used fee money to repair and upgrade cave restrooms, design new cave trails, and reconstruct backcountry trails. More recently, replacement of the pedestrian bridge between the visitor center and lodge was funded with fee revenue, and HVAC upgrades at the lodge.”
A chart at the conclusion of this release lists each proposed increase by name of visitor service, the present fee, the proposed fee, and the last time a fee increase occurred.
Proposed fee increases at Mammoth Cave National Park:
Please note: It is the practice of the NPS to make all comments, including names and addresses of respondents who provide that information, available for public review. Individuals may request that the NPS withhold their name and/or address from public disclosure. Commenters must state this prominently at the beginning of their comment and check the box "keep my contact information private." NPS will honor such requests to the extent allowable by law, but may still be required to disclose a commenter’s name and address pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. All submissions from organizations, businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses will be made available for public inspection in their entirety.