The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (2004) is successor legislation to the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program (Fee Demo - 1996) that allows the National Park Service and other agencies to retain and use the fees paid by the public at certain designated units within these agencies. Prior to Fee Demo, most fees collected by parks were returned to the U.S. Government General Treasury fund. Each year, approximately 20% of the funds collected the prior year were returned to the parks that collected them.
For the National Park Service, these programs permit 80% of the fees collected by a park to be used within that unit, without competition. The other 20% goes to a central fund from which all parks can compete for project funding. Projects can include maintaining roads and other public facilities, visitor and employee safety concerns, interpretive or educational improvements, and resource protection needs.
Since first implemented at Tonto National Monument in 1998, fee revenues (from both local and national sources) have been used for trail repairs to both trails, new trailside exhibit signs, entrance road improvements, parking lot expansion, and to improve the park’s radio communication system. Fee revenues were also used to construct a new administrative headquarters building.
Thanks to all the visitors who made these projects possible!