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Contact: Susan Gonshor, 305-230-1144, x3019
For the first time in over 9 years, fees charged for docking and camping on Biscayne National Park’s Elliott and Boca Chita Keys will increase as of November 15, 2007. The new fee for overnight docking (considered any stay that extends past 5:00 pm) on either island will increase from $15 to $20. That fee includes the use of one campsite for up to 2 tents and 6 people. Campers who get dropped off at the island and do not have a vessel docked in the harbor will pay a fee of $15 per night, per site, up from the previous $10 charge. Group campsites for up to 6 tents and 25 people are going up from $25 to $30. Holders of the Senior Pass (formerly the Golden Age Passport) or Access Pass (formerly the Golden Access Passport) will receive a 50% discount on docking and camping fees.
All of the fees collected at Elliott Key and Boca Chita Key are used to enhance visitor services within Biscayne National Park. Some of the improvements visitors can expect to see on the islands as a result of the increased fees include updated picnic tables and grills, new orientation exhibits and an increased National Park Service presence through a volunteer "Harbor Host Program" on weekends during the winter months.
Elliott Key, Biscayne National Park’s largest island, lies 8 miles offshore. It is largely covered by tropical hardwood forest, but there is a developed harbor area near the center of the island that hosts restroom facilities, a trailhead, an environmental education center used by organized school groups, and a roped-off wading area. Boca Chita Key, two islands to the north of Elliott Key, is the park’s most popular island. Though much smaller than Elliott, the historical buildings constructed by heating controls magnate Mark Honeywell in the 1930s make the island very popular, particularly on weekends. The island’s lighthouse has become the de facto symbol of Biscayne National Park, and it is hoped that visitors will have increased access to the building with the addition of the volunteer Harbor Hosts.
Biscayne is currently recruiting for Harbor Hosts and other positions throughout the park, including hosting the Visitor Center Welcome Desk, assisting with cultural and conservation projects and helping with community outreach and special events. For additional information on Biscayne’s volunteer program, go to parks’ website at www.nps.gov/bisc and click on "Support Your Park" or contact the park’s Volunteer Coordinator at 305-224-4203. For additional park information, call 305-230-PARK (7275) or visit the parks’ website at www.nps.gov/bisc.