Under the proposed fee schedule, entrance fees would also increase for commercial tour companies. Currently, road-based tour vans carrying one to six passengers pay a $25 base fee and $5 per person to enter the park. The per-person entrance rates will increase to $8 in 2015;$10 in 2016;and $12 in 2017, through 2021. The base fee will not change. Non-road-based tour companies, i.e. hiking tour companies that are on trails more than they are touring the park by vehicle, don't pay a base rate but their per-person fees would increase under the proposed schedule.
In addition, the park will soon charge $10 per permit for all overnight backcountry and front-country camping, with a maximum of three consecutive nights at one spot. Currently, camping is free, except at Nāmakanipaio Campground, which is managed by Hawai'i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC. The new camping permit fees are similar to other public camping fees statewide.
The public is invited to submit comments online at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/havo. Select the Proposed Entrance Fee Increases for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park link. Then click on the link to the left "Open for Comment," and click on the document name. You can then download the document. You can also comment from the same screen using the link near the top, "Comment on Document." The comment link is only valid during the comment period.
The public can also submit comments in writing, addressed to Superintendent, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, P.O. Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718. The deadline for comments is Dec. 15, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. Comment cards will also be provided at the Kīlauea Visitor Center seven days a week, from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information with your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
If the fee increases go into effect, visitors in 2015 will still enjoy a great value while visiting Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For $15 per vehicle (an increase of 50 percent from 2014), the seven-day pass averages $2.14/day for a family of four. By comparison, catching the latest blockbuster in a movie theatre typically runs a family of four about $45.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is a significant driver to the island's economy. A 2013 National Park Service report shows that 1,583,209 park visitors spent $124,937,400 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,476 local jobs.