Why Do We Have to Pay Entrance Fees?
White Sands National Monument is being cared for today and preserved for future generations by visitors like you. This dual objective—use and preservation—comes at a price. Protecting our natural and cultural heritage while ensuring that everyone visiting these areas has a safe, enjoyable and education experience costs money.
The number of visitors continues to climb due to the popularity of the monument. As a result, the cost to maintain the monument and add visitor amenities, including trails and trail maintenance, restrooms, picnic shelters, exhibits, and visitor services continues to increase as well. In 1996, to address these needs, Congress directed the U.S. Department of the Interior to implement the Recreation Fee Demonstration program in three of its agencies—the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Similarly, since 2004, the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act has allowed the National Park Service to keep the entrance fees to help manage these lands for those who use them.
Managing our public lands is a major financial investment most of which comes from the general tax base. Those who use these areas for recreation derive a greater benefit from—and place a greater burden on—resources than the public at large. Entrance fees redistribute that burden so that users pay an increased share of the costs. We encourage you to participate in recreational activities which will enhance your visit and create memories. And we also ask you to remember your role in keeping the outdoor recreational experience alive for others.
Your Dollars at Work
The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) allows the monument to retain 80% of the fees collected for use on maintenance and infrastructure improvements, and interpretive services projects that directly benefit visitors. Since the beginning of FLREA, White Sands has spent over $4,020,000 to enhance visitor services, fund facility repair and maintenance, and provide expanded visitor amenities and programs.
For more information on how your entrance fees are being put to work in the park, click here.