Organ Pipe Cactus NM increases fees to address infrastructure needs, improve visitor experience

Organ Pipe Cactus NM increases fees to address infrastructure needs, improve visitor experience
(Source: National Park Service)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The National Park Service (NPS) announced recently that Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument will increase entrance and campground fees to provide additional funding for infrastructure and maintenance needs that enhance the visitor experience.

Effective June 1, the park entrance fee will be $25 per vehicle or $20 per motorcycle. An annual park pass will cost $45. Twin Peaks Campground will increase to $20 per night and its' group site will cost $50 per night.

The fee structure addresses many concerns and ideas provided by the public on how best to address fee revenue for parks. Revenue from entrance fees remains in the National Park Service and helps ensure a quality experience for all who visit.

"Revenues generated from park fees at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument will be used in projects that directly benefit the public," said Park Superintendent Jacqueline Lavelle in a recent news release. "Visitors will see new shade structures, picnic tables, informational waysides, as well as road and hiking trail improvements. We are committed to providing a quality experience for all park visitors and these fees will help fund these enhancements."

National parks have experienced record breaking visitation, with more than 1.5 billion visitors in the last five years. Throughout the country, the combination of aging infrastructure and increased visitation affects park roads, bridges, buildings, campgrounds, water systems, bathrooms, and other facilities. Maintenance deferred on these facilities amounts to $11.6 billion nationwide backlog.

Entrance fees collected by the National Park Service totaled $199.9 million in Fiscal Year 2016.  The NPS estimates that once fully implemented, the new fee structure will increase annual entrance fee revenue by about $60 million.

The current rate of $12 per vehicle and $16 campground fees has been in effect since 2015. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is one of 117 in the National Park System that charges an entrance fee. The remaining 300 sites are free to enter. Some sites may charge special use and/or amenity fees for particular services.

The price of the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass and Lifetime Senior Pass will remain $80.

The National Park Service has a standardized entrance fee structure, and established rates are based on park size and type.

The complete fee schedule will change according to the following:

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