Outdoors

Entry fees at Olympic, Rainier parks going up to $20 a car

Olympic National Park entry fees are set to increase June 1 and will rise again in 2016, park officials announced Friday.

The entry fee for a vehicle will increase to $20 from $15 on June 1, then climb to $25 in 2016. It’s the first fee increase at Olympic National Park since 2006.

The National Park Service is increasing fees at parks around the country to generate revenue to fund a backlog of projects and spruce up parks before the National Park Service’s 2016 centennial celebration.

Mount Rainier National Park entrance fees for vehicles increased to $20 from $15 on Friday.

The most dramatic increase at Olympic National Park will be for people on motorcycles. The fee will increase 400 percent by 2017. The fee increase to $10 from $5 on June 1, then by another $5 in both 2016 and ’17.

Fees for an individual increase to $7 from $5 on June 1 then climb to $10 in 2016.

The entry fee gives visitors access to the park for seven days. The cost of an annual pass increases to $40 from $30 on June 1. It increases to $50 in 2016.

The park collected public comment on the fee increases for two months after proposing the increase in October, 2014.

“We’re grateful for the comments we received last fall,” park superintendent Sarah Creachbaum said in a prepared statement. “Entrance and overnight wilderness use fees will be phased in over several years, based in large part on suggestions from stakeholders and the public.”

In 2014, Olympic used approximately $2.2 million in fee revenue for improving visitor facilities and services, including trail and wilderness bridge repair, new visitor center exhibits and operation of the park’s wilderness information program, according to a statement released by the park.

“The money from user and entrance fees provides vital funding for visitor facilities like water and wastewater systems, campgrounds, roads, trails and visitor centers,” Creachbaum said.

The park also is increasing camping fees to $15-$22 from $10-$18.

The park is discontinuing its $5 overnight wilderness use permit, but increase nightly wilderness fees to $5 from $2. The fee will increase to $7 in 2017. Annual wilderness passes increase to $35 from $30 this year then rise to $45 in 2017.

Recreational vehicle sewage dump fees increase to $10 from $5. The park also will charge $7 for adults and $3 for youth ages 6-15 for ranger-led snowshoe hikes. Previously the park recommended a $5 donation.

The park offers free and discounted access to children 15 and younger, seniors 62 and older and members of the military.

“We are committed to providing all visitors with the best possible experience, while still providing affordable options to enjoy the park,” Creachbaum said.

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