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Contact: Bob Cromwell, Chief of Interpretation, 360-816-6253
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (NHS) is soliciting public comments via the National Park Service (NPS) public comment website (PEPC) and US Mail concerning possible fee increases in 2018. Under the park's proposal, the entrance fee to the reconstructed stockade site would change from $5 to $7 in January 2018 for an individual, and would remain valid for reentrance for seven days. The park's annual pass would remain at $30 in 2018, and would continue to allow admittance of four adults.
The proposed fee increase affects the reconstructed stockade site only. Access to park grounds, trails, roads, and facilities outside of the reconstructed stockade site would remain free of charge. Facilities that will remain free of charge to access include the Visitor Center and Pearson Air Museum, and the national park's green space including the Parade Ground, Great Meadow, and the waterfront at Vancouver, Washington. In addition, the McLoughlin and Barclay Houses and the park they are situated on at the national park's McLoughlin House Unit in Oregon City, Oregon, will also remain free.
The entrance fee increase is part of a larger National Park Service initiative to standardize fees in similar national parks across the country. Entrance fees have been collected at Fort Vancouver NHS for more than 20 years.
At National Park System sites, where fees are collected, 80% to 100% of fees collected remain at the site to support projects with a direct visitor connection. Parks can propose projects and compete service-wide from the remaining 20% of fees collected. At Fort Vancouver NHS, the additional revenue from the fee increase will be used to enhance visitor services, including repair and maintenance of park facilities, rehabilitation of visitor service buildings, and repair and replacement of equipment and materials to enhance park programming and special events.
Examples of projects funded through the fee revenue funds at Fort Vancouver NHS include replicating nineteenth century furniture for museum display and use in living history special events onside, creating new trail maps, replacing viewing decks along the Columbia River waterfront, adding accessible trails within the reconstructed stockade, adding picnic tables and trash receptacles throughout park, replacing playground equipment at the popular playground near the Visitor Center, and improvements to the Bandstand and picnic shelter, as well as the McLoughlin and Barclay Houses.
Fort Vancouver NHS has also successfully competed service-wide for projects funded through the 20% recreational fee funding source. The Visitor Center rehabilitation, completed in 2015, is an excellent example.
A 30-day public engagement period on the proposed fee increase is open as of August 1, 2017, and will close on September 4, 2017. Feedback will be accepted via https://parkplanning.nps.gov/Proposed_2018_Fee_Increase_Fort_Vancouver_NHS or by by submitting comments via mail to Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Attention: Proposed Fee Increase, 612 E Reserve St., Vancouver, WA 98661. In addition, comment cards will be available at the Visitor Center for the visiting public to share their thoughts on this matter.
Entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years of age or holders of the America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Annual, Senior, Access, or Military passes.
Fort Vancouver NHS is a strong economic engine for the surrounding area. In 2016, over 1 million visitors visited the national park. In 2015, park visitors spent $46.9 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 792 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative economic benefit tot he community of $65.7 million.
The new entrance fee could be implemented in January 2018. Comments received during the 30 day public comment period will inform the agency's decision on how or if a fee increase will be implemented.