Glacier National Park is requesting public comment on a proposal to increase the park’s entrance fees for the first time in nine years, implement a motorized boat launch fee, and increase the camping fee at the Many Glacier Campground.
The proposal includes increasing the summer vehicle 7-day entrance fee from $25 to $30, with the winter fee changing from $15 to $20. The individual hiker/biker summer 7-day entrance fee would change from $12 to $15, and the winter fee would remain at $10. The 7-day entrance fee for a motorcycle would increase from $12 per person to $25 per motorcycle in the summer and from $10 per person to $15 per motorcycle in the winter. Summer season fees are charged from
May 1-October 31, and winter fees are charged November 1-April 30 of each year.
The proposed fees are consistent with other larger national parks.
If approved, all changes in entrance fees at Glacier National Park would be implemented in May, 2015. The last time park entrance fees at Glacier National Park were increased was in 2006. Prior to that, the summer vehicle fee was $20 and the annual park pass was $30.
The proposal does not affect other passes with the America the Beautiful- The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program, including the $80 interagency and $10 senior passes, and the free access or military passes.
A new boat launch fee is being proposed that will support managing the boat launch facilities in the park. The fee would be for all motorized boats that access park waters. The proposed fee is $10 for a 7-day permit or $40 for an annual permit. Revenue would help with boater education, monitoring, and improvements to boat launch facilities. If approved, it is anticipated this fee would be implemented in May, 2015. Boat inspections for aquatic invasive species (AIS) would still be required.
The park proposal also includes increasing the camping fee at the Many Glacier Campground from $20 to $23, and utilizing the federal reservation system for approximately half of the camp sites. The remaining sites not included on the reservation system would be first-come first-serve. This fee change would be consistent with the other reservation campgrounds in the park, Fish Creek and St. Mary Campgrounds. If approved, this fee and the reservation system would begin summer of 2016.
Another fee change would be for group campsites in the park. The proposed fee is $65 per group reservation site and $60 for first-come first-serve group sites. The current fee structure is $53 per site for the first nine individuals and $5 for each additional person for a reserved site, and $50 for a first-come first-serve group site. Group camping sites are located at St. Mary, Apgar, Many Glacier and Two Medicine. Some are available by reservation and some are first-come first-serve. If approved the proposed fee change would begin May, 2015.
The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) is the legislation that allows the park to collect entrance and camping fees, and retain 80 percent of the collected revenue. The remaining 20 percent is distributed throughout the National Park System. Basic park operations are funded by direct appropriations from Congress.
It is anticipated that the proposed fee changes could potentially generate approximately an additional $500,000 annually for Glacier National Park, depending on the number and type of entrance passes and camping permits sold. The funds generated by fees would be used for projects that enhance visitor services and facilities, including interpretive programs at campgrounds, the backcountry campsite reservation program, repair and restoration of trails, restoration of wildlife habitat, improvement and replacement of restroom facilities, preservation and maintenance of roads, and shuttle bus operation and maintenance.
Glacier National Park is an economic driver in the state of Montana and surrounding region. A National Park Service report shows that approximately 2.2 million visitors to Glacier National Park in 2013 spent $179 million in communities near the park supporting 2,824 jobs in the local area.
Public feedback on the proposed fee changes should be submitted to the park by December 19, 2014. Comments can be emailed or written comments may be mailed to Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn: Fee Proposal, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, Montana 59936. Following receipt and analysis of public feedback, a decision will be made on fee changes and timing of implementation. For more information, contact the park at 406-888-7800.