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St. Augustine, FL – The National Park Service (NPS) has announced that Castillo de San Marcos National Monument will increase its entrance fees effective June 1, 2018 to provide additional funding for infrastructure and maintenance needs that enhance the visitor experience. Effective June 1, 2018, the entrance fees to enter the fort will be $15 per adult. Children 15 years of age and younger remain free of charge, but must be accompanied by an adult. A Castillo annual park pass will cost $45, and increase from the current $40.
According to Superintendent Gordie Wilson, “Entrance fees collected at Castillo de San Marcos are critical to this iconic St. Augustine fort. This additional revenue will allow us to increase our historic preservation and visitor services capacity.”
National parks have experienced record breaking visitation, with more than 1.5 billion visitors in the last five years, with more than 800,000 visiting Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in 2017. Throughout the country, the combination of an aging infrastructure and increased visitation has put a strain on park roads, bridges, buildings, campgrounds, water systems, bathrooms, and other facilities and led to a $11.6 billion deferred maintenance backlog nationwide. The badly needed revenue from entrance fees will remain in the National Park Service and help ensure a quality experience for all who visit.
Entrance fees collected by the National Park Service totaled $199.9 million in Fiscal Year 2016. The NPS estimates that once fully implemented, the new fee structure will increase annual entrance fee revenue by about $68 million.
The current Castillo rate of $10 per adult has been in effect since 2015. The park is one of 117 National Park Service site that charges an entrance fee. The other 300 sites are free to enter.
There was a proposal in October of 2017 to implement a peak-season entrance fee of $70 per vehicle at 17 of the country’s most visited national parks. That proposal received more than 100,000 public comments. The new fee structure replaces that proposal and addresses many of the concerns and ideas provided by the public on how best to address fee revenue for parks. Their input led to the decision to enact a modest increase across the board for all fee-charging parks rather than charging higher fees at just 17 parks.
The price of the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass will increase from $80 to $100 in January 2019. The price of the interagency annual pass has been $80 since 2007. The lifetime senior pass price will increase from $80 to $100 in January 2020. Annual and lifetime passes provide entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites, including all national parks.
Built by the Spanish in St. Augustine to defend Florida and the Atlantic trade route, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument preserves the oldest masonry fortification in the continental United States and interprets more than 450 years of cultural intersections. Learn more at www.nps.gov/casa and visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/CastilloNPS and Twitter www.twitter.com/CastilloNPS.
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's more than 400 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov and visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.