Your Fee Dollars at Work
Out of the 417 units in the National Park Service (NPS), 117 parks charge an entrance fee. The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) allows the NPS to collect and retain revenue and requires that fee revenue be used to enhance the visitor experience. At least 80 percent of the money stays in the park where it is collected, and the other 20 percent is used to benefit parks that do not collect fees. What does that mean for our national parks and for you?
The NPS is authorized to use entrance and recreation fees for a variety of items related to your experience, such as:
- Repair, maintenance, and facility enhancement related directly to visitor enjoyment, visitor access, and health and safety, such as:
- Redesign of a new accessible visitor center desk at James A. Garfield National Historic Site (Ohio)
- Construction of accessible parking and path to a restroom in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (Arizona)
- Repair of historic stone steps, coping wall, and gravel tread on the popular Beech Cliff Loop Trail in Acadia National Park (Maine)
- Replacement of the 162-foot Elkwallow Trail Bridge in Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)
Habitat restoration directly related to wildlife-dependent recreation including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, and photography, such as a volunteer project to repair and maintain boundary fencing that allows visitors to safely observe native elk and pronghorn at Big Hole National Battlefield (Montana)
Law enforcement related to public use and recreation, such as partnering with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office to provide dispatch services for law enforcement and other emergency operations at Canyonlands National Park (Utah)
Direct operating or capital costs associated with the recreation fee program to pay for entrance station and campground staff
Fee management agreements with gateway communities to provide emergency medical services
Using Fee Dollars in Parks
Pick a park on the map below to learn more about how they use recreation fees to benefit you.
Your Fee Dollars at Work: At a GlanceView the text alternative for the Your Pass to the Parks infographic
Frequently Asked Questions About Entrance Fees
Entrance fees are determined by park type. In 2006, the NPS established an entrance fee structure to simplify and standardize entrance fees across parks of similar types. The NPS updated the pricing structure in 2014.
Group 1: National historic sites, national military parks, national battlefields, national battlefield parks, national memorials/shrines, national preserves, parkways
Group 2: National seashores, national recreation areas, national monuments, national lakeshores, national historical parks
Group 3: National parks
Group 4: National parks
The chart below shows the changes to park entrance fees. See the full list of park entrance fee changes.
|Park-Specific Annual Pass||Vehicle Pass||Person Pass||Motorcycle Pass|
Entrance fees have become an important source of revenue used to improve the visitor experience and recreation opportunities in national parks and on other federal lands.
The National Park Service is committed to the visitor experience, and increased fee revenue will help improve visitor facilities and infrastructure across the National Park System. The funds raised are critically needed to improve facilities and infrastructure and to provide an enhanced level of service, all of which have a direct impact on the visitor.
Entrance fees for national parks predate the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916. For example, Mount Rainier National Park started charging an entrance fee in 1908. Factoring in inflation, the $5 entrance fee they charged in 1914 would be the equivalent of a $123 entrance fee today—more than four times the price of the new seven-day $30 vehicle pass.
Text Alternative for the Your Fee Dollars at Work Infographic
Your fee dollars at work
All the funds from entrance fees stay with the National Park Service to enhance the visitor experience
There were 330,882,751 visitors to national parks in 2017.
Did you know?
118 of 417 national parks charge an entrance fee
80% of the money remains in the park where it is collected
the other 20% is spent on projects in other national parks
What is revenue used for?
Repairing and maintaining facilities
Improving park infrastructure
Enhancing visitor programs and services
Protecting park resources
Emphasis on projects that address $11.6 billion in deferred maintenance
Projects in your parks
Constructed accessible parking and walkway to a restroom in Organ
Pipe Cactus National Monument
Repaired historic stone steps, coping wall, and gravel tread on the beech cliff loop
trail in Acadia National Park
Installed a new accessible information desk in the visitor center at James A. Garfield National Historic Site
Replaced the 162-foot Elkwallow Trail bridge in Shenandoah National Park
Resurfaced major connector road in Badlands National Park
Last updated: April 12, 2018