Recreation Fee Program-Your Dollars at Work

For many years, park budgets had been insufficient to keep up with increasing costs of maintaining facilities and services for an ever-growing public.

In 1996, a far-sighted program was authorized by the U.S. Congress which allowed National Park Service units, including Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), to keep the majority of entrance and camping fees (80%) collected at their sites to assist with repair, rehabilitation and renovation needs, critical resource protection needs and natural and cultural resource management and science research. In 2004, Congress extended this successful program through 2014, under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.

Since the beginning of this program, Rocky Mountain National Park has spent over $35 million in repairs, renovations and improvements, and resource restoration. Ninety percent of surveyed park visitors have continually expressed support for this program.


Your Dollars at Work
Rocky Mountain National Park has focused Recreation Fee Program efforts on projects which directly benefit park visitors.

Some recent examples include:

  • Campgrounds: A multi-year project is currently under way to completely renovate restroom facilities throughout the park's campgrounds. The renovated and redesigned facilities will better address visitor's needs. These facilities will be handicap accessible and incorporate integrated sustainable practices and design into the construction.
  • Hazard Tree Mitigation: Rocky Mountain National Park is just one relatively small area where trees are dying from a mountain pine beetle epidemic. Because the task is enormous, the park's priorities for mitigation of the effects of beetles are focused on removing hazard trees and hazard fuels related to the protection of life and property. The goal is to mitigate hazard tree threats in or near park facilities such as campgrounds, parking lots, road corridors, housing areas and visitor centers. Mitigation efforts include carbaryl spraying, removal of hazard trees, and implementing temporary closures in a variety of park locations
  • Sustainable Concrete Picnic Tables: Currently there is a multi-year project to improve picnic areas throughout the park. These improvements will enhance the visitor experience by providing designated improved picnic sites using sustainable concrete picnic tables. These same picnic tables will also be installed in all park campgrounds. In addition a new picnic shelter has been constructed at Harbison Meadows near the Grand Lake Entrance.
  • Interpretive Media: The park has various projects which enhance the visitor experience through improved interpretive media such as printed information, wayside exhibits, and replacement of projection equipment used for ranger programs.
  • Infrastructure Improvements: Often unseen by visitors, repairs and upgrades to water and waste water systems directly affect visitors by providing safe and reliable facilities such as campgrounds and visitor centers. The park has completed and is currently working on improvements to sewer and water delivery systems throughout the park.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517


(970) 586-1206
Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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