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FORT SMITH –The National Park Service (NPS) announced today Fort Smith National Historic Site will modify its entrance fees to provide additional funding for infrastructure and maintenance needs to enhance the visitor experience. Effective June 1, 2018 the entrance fees to the park’s Visitor Center exhibits will be $10 per person. An annual Fort Smith NHS park pass will cost $30. All of the money received from entrance fees remains with the National Park Service with at least 80 percent of the revenue going to Fort Smith National Historic Site.
Revenue from entrance fees remains in the National Park Service and helps ensure a quality experience for all who visit. Here in Fort Smith National Historic Site, at least 80 percent of entrance fees stay in the park and are devoted to spending that supports the visitor. We share the other 20 percent of entry fee income with other national parks for their projects.
In response to public comments on a fee proposal released in October 2017, there will be a modest increase for all entrance fee-charging parks, rather than the higher peak-season fees initially proposed only for 17 highly-visited national parks.
National parks have experienced record breaking visitation, with more than 1.5 billion visitors in the last five years. Throughout the country, the combination of an aging infrastructure and increased visitation has put a strain on park roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms, and other visitor services and led to a $11.6 billion deferred maintenance backlog nationwide.
The additional revenue from entrance fees at Fort Smith will improve walking paths, update and develop interpretive exhibits, replace the Visitor Center’s elevator, improve accessibility, and many other projects that directly benefit park visitors.
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 $60 million.
Fort Smith National Historic Site has had an entrance fee for several years. The current rate of $7 per person has been in effect since 2017. The park is one of 117 National Park Service sites that charges an entrance fee, the other 300 national parks will remain free to enter.
The price of the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass and Lifetime Senior Pass will remain $80.
The National Park Service has a standardized entrance fee structure, composed of four groups based on park size and type. Fort Smith National Historic Site is one of many sites in group 1. Group 1 parks include national historic sites, national military parks, national battlefields, national battlefield parks, national memorials/shrines, national preserves, and national parkways. Some parks not yet aligned with the other parks in their category will raise their fees incrementally and fully incorporate the new entrance fee schedule by January 1, 2020.
The complete fee schedule will change according to the following:
|Fort Smith National Historic Site|
|Park Specific Annual Pass|
|June 1, 2018||$10||$35|
For more information on the NPS visit https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/entrance-fee-prices.htm#CP_JUMP_5865491