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Contact: Ray O'Neil, 520-733-5110
Saguaro National Park Seeks Public Comment Regarding Proposed User Fee Increase Tucson, AZ –
Saguaro National Park proposes an increase to the park's 7-Day Private Vehicle Entrance Permit from $10 to $15. The seven day pass admits a private vehicle and all of its occupants into the park for oneweek. If approved, the increase would go into effect on January 1, 2017. The increase in fees will help bring the park into alignment with the entry costs for other similar parks, a phased process which began in 2015. The park requests comments from the public concerning the proposed increase. Saguaro National Park has long been a popular destination for the public and local residents who enjoy the park for the many recreational opportunities it provides including hiking, bicycling, interpretive programs, picnicking, wilderness backpacking, scenic drives, wildlife viewing, and more. The park is committed to share its resources with the public by continuing to be an affordable option for outdoor recreation and enjoyment regardless of economic status. Visitors and local residents who recreate in the park more than a couple of times a year may find that the $35 Saguaro annual pass is a good economical alternative. An interagency pass along with discounted lifetime passes for senior citizens, free annual passes for active duty military personnel, and free lifetime passes for people with disabilities are also available. "100% of the fees collected at Saguaro National Park, remain in the park to support visitor facilities and services," according to Park Superintendent, Darla Sidles. "This fee increase would enable the park to reduce the back log in our deferred maintenance." The last time that Saguaro increased the seven day vehicle entrance fee was in 2005. Since then, the park's deferred maintenance costs have increased to $16 million. Projects planned for 2017 include repairing Cactus Forest, Douglas Springs, and Heartbreak Ridge Trails, as well as improving the auditorium of the Red Hills Visitor Center in the park's west district. User fees also support projects to engage youth throughout the park. A 30-day public engagement period for the proposed fee increase will run from Thursday, July 20th through Monday, August 22nd. Please send your comments by e-mail to SAGU_Information@nps.gov or through the mail to Superintendent; Saguaro National Park; 3693 South Old Spanish Trail, Tucson, AZ 85730. The comments will be evaluated to determine if the park should move forward with the proposed fee increase.