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Contact: Claire Comer
LURAY, VA – Shenandoah National Park announced a process for public input on its proposed backcountry camping permitting system during a virtual public meeting last night. The public comment period is open through July 6. Park managers will evaluate the public comments and develop a plan for implementation. The new process will be implemented in 2024.
Backcountry, or “wilderness camping” refers to camping in remote areas of the park rather than in developed campgrounds and is a popular activity in Shenandoah. The 1998 Backcountry Wilderness Use Management Plan Environmental Assessment included a fee-based program and after additional public input in 2021, the park has decided to move forward with utilizing the online system. Officials announced Tuesday that based on research and public comment, they are proposing a fee of $6 per permit, plus $9 per person. For example, one camper would pay $15, while a group of two would pay $24. The cost would be in addition to the park entrance fee.
The proposed change only affects the permitting process; no other changes to camping or camping regulations are proposed. Permits can still be obtained for up to 14 nights and the maximum group size is 10. Backcountry campers will obtain permits through recreation.gov online or by phone. Paper permits will no longer be available at the park.
The new online system will allow the park to track and understand backcountry use to ensure the protection of resources and will provide an improved visitor experience. Having online registration information will also assist in being able to locate campers in the event of an emergency. Users will be able to plan their trip in advance with current information using recreation.gov. The associated fee will fund the system and provide financial support for management of the park's backcountry.
Superintendent Pat Kenney said, “The proposed new system will allow us to improve the visitor experience and ensure preservation of the park’s backcountry.”
For more information on the proposal and how to comment, please visit our website: www.nps.gov/shen
Last updated: June 6, 2023