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Contact: Joe Zarki, 760-367-5527
Effective March 1, 2007, camping fees at Joshua Tree National Park will increase. The per night camping fee will rise from $5 to $10 at Hidden Valley, Ryan, Jumbo Rocks, Belle, and White Tank campgrounds. Family campsites at Indian Cove, Black Rock, and Cottonwood campgrounds will increase from $10 to $15 per night.
Fees will also increase for group camping. At Cottonwood Campground, the new fee for group campsites will be $30 per night. At Sheep Pass and Indian Cove group campsites, the new fees will now range from $25-40 depending on the number of people in the party.
Holders of Senior Pass and Golden Age Passports will continue to receive a 50% discount on park camping fees. Golden Access Passport card holders will also receive a half-price reduction on camping fees. Park entry fees and Keys Ranch guided-tour fees will not change.
According to Park Superintendent Curt Sauer, the camping fees increases for Joshua Tree have been under consideration for some time and are prompted by a number of factors. The National Park Service has now adopted a new camping reservation contractor, ReserveAmerica, and reservation fees charged by the contractor have increased. Joshua Tree National Park went through a camping fee review and public involvement process in 2005 and 2006 along with numerous other National Park Service sites. Many of those parks raised their fees in 2006, but Joshua Tree elected to wait until the implementation of the new camping reservation contract before raising its camping fees. In addition, costs for operating the park campground system have increased over the last three years. Fees for garbage collection, phone services, and other utilities have all risen significantly.
Camping fees at national parks are based on comparability studies of fees for similar campgrounds. Comparability studies for Joshua Tree show that park camping fees have consistently been among the lowest of any national park or state park in California. Primitive reservation campsites at Anza-Borrego State Park are $20 per night, plus a $7.50 reservation fee. The $15 per night fee for similar reservation campgrounds at Joshua Tree includes the reservation fees. For non-reservation campgrounds, Joshua Tree’s new fee of $10 per night compares to $12 per night for a similar campsite at Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park.
Local public meetings were held in the fall, 2005 to seek public input on entrance fee rates and possible increases at Joshua Tree National Park. Meetings were held at the Community Center in the town of Joshua Tree on November 8, 2005 and at park headquarters in Twentynine Palms on November 10, 2005. In August, 2006, the park engaged in written consultation about the proposed fee increases with appropriate Congressional offices, county supervisors, local Chambers of Commerce, and commercial tour operators using the park. The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) signed by President Bush in December, 2004 allows the collecting units to keep 80% of the funds collected at the site to be used to support visitor facilities, visitors services, and to enhance recreation opportunities.
The new National Park Service campground reservation contractor, ReserveAmerica, is now accepting camping reservations for Joshua Tree National Park, many other national park campgrounds, and other state and local recreation sites. The public can reserve available campsites at Black Rock and Indian Cove campgrounds and all group sites on the web at www.Recreation.gov, or www.ReserveUSA.com, or by calling 1-877-444-6777.