News Release

Joshua Tree National Park Changes Entrance Fee to Address Infrastructure Needs and Improve Visitor Experience

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Date: April 13, 2018
Contact: George Land, 760-367-5507

The National Park Service (NPS) announced today that Joshua Tree National Park will modify its entrance fees beginning June 1, 2018 to provide additional funding for infrastructure and maintenance needs that enhance the visitor experience. Effective June 1, the park entrance fee will be $30 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle. An annual park pass will cost $55.

The NPS last October proposed a plan to adopt seasonal pricing at Joshua Tree and 16 other national parks to raise additional revenue for infrastructure and maintenance needs. The fee structure announced today addresses many concerns and ideas provided by the public on how best to address fee revenue for parks.

Revenue from entrance fees remains in the National Park Service and helps ensure a quality experience for all who visit. Here in Joshua Tree National Park, 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.

"Any extra funds that the park can generate through fees will go directly to covering our backlog maintenance needs. With over $50 million in backlog maintenance at Joshua Tree alone, it has been very challenging to catch up. This increase will go a long way in helping to fix trails, improve campgrounds, and rebuild our aging infrastructure" said Superintendent David Smith.

The additional revenue from entrance fees at Joshua Tree will be used to fund a number of projects to enhance visitor experience and address maintenance backlog. Upcoming projects include:

  • A much needed face lift at Black Rock Campground
  • Relocation of West Entrance further into the park to ease congestion entering the park and lessen impact on local residences
  • A new visitor center at Cottonwood entrance
  • New trailhead and parking for Samuelson’s Rock
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 aging infrastructure and increased visitation affects park roads, bridges, buildings, campgrounds, water systems, bathrooms, and other facilities. Maintenance deferred on these facilities amounts to $11.6 billion nationwide backlog.

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. 
Joshua Tree National Park has had an entrance fee since 1991. The current rate of $25 per vehicle or $12 per motorcycle has been in effect since 2016. The park is one of 117 in the National Park System that charges an entrance fee. The remaining 300 sites are 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. Joshua Tree National Park is one of 21 sites in group 3.

The complete fee schedule will change according to the following:
  Per vehicle Per motorcycle Per person Park Specific
Annual Pass
Current $25 $12 $12 $40
(June 1) 2018 $30 $25 $15 $55

Last updated: April 13, 2018

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