Your Fee Dollars at Work

Construction crew working on bridge masonry in national park
Fee dollars fund projects such as masonry repair on Acadia National Park's Duck Brook Bridge.

NPS photo

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:
  • 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 infographic explain how entrance fees are used in parks

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

As part of ongoing efforts to address aging park infrastructure and improve the visitor experience, entrance fees will increase by 10 percent, rounded up to the nearest $5 or $10 increment, at all parks that charge an entrance fee. The increases will go into effect June 1, 2018, for 77 parks, including the 17 that were a part of the October 2017 proposal to implement peak season entrance fees. Another 33 parks will increase their rates on a delayed schedule; these parks will align with their fee groups by January 1, 2020. The remaining seven parks are undergoing reviews; implementation dates will be determined in the future. Read the news release about the changes to the fee structure.

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
Current New Current New Current New Current New
Group 1 $30 $35 $15 $20 $7 $10 $10 $15
Group 2 $40 $45 $20 $25 $10 $15 $15 $20
Group 3 $50 $55 $25 $30 $12 $15 $20 $25
Group 4 $60 $70 $30 $35 $15 $20 $25 $30

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.

The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series is still available. The prices will remain the same. The Annual Pass and lifetime Senior Pass are both $80. The Access Pass, Free Annual Pass for U.S. Military, and Annual 4th Grade Pass are free.
Fees have become an important source of revenue used to improve the visitor experience, including recreational opportunities, in national parks. All the money from entrance fees remains in the National Park Service, and at least 80 percent stays in the park where it was collected.

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