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Mesa Verde National Park, Hoping To Boost Off-Season Visitation, Waives Entrance Fees Through February


Though the off-season, winter still can be an intriguing time to visit Mesa Verde National Park. NPS photo of Spruce Tree House.

Hoping to boost visitation during the slow winter months, officials at Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado are waiving park entrance fees through February.

“With the new recreational opportunities being offered this winter, I am waiving fees to encourage visitors and locals to visit Mesa Verde and take advantage of the quieter times in the park," said Superintendent Cliff Spencer in a release.

Once the park has received sufficient snowfall, there will be several trails open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.  Information on the winter recreational opportunities can be found on the park website, at the park entrance or by calling park dispatch at 970-529-4622 or Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum at 970-529-4631.

In addition to the January and February fee waiver, there are also a number of days in 2012 when entrance fees to national parks and public lands will be waived.  The fee free days for National Park Service units are:

* January 14 to 16 (Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend)

* April 21 to 29 (National Park Week)

* June 9 (Get Outdoors Day)

* September 29 (National Public Lands Day)

* November 10 to 12 (Veterans Day weekend)


Just visited the park. Camping fee was 37.00 for poor site at best. No discount for Golden age except for dry camp sites. Scheduled tours are 3.00 each dwelling visited. Sorry to say one of my favorite places is now a must miss.

When I first saw Ben Hardin's comment, I thought there had to be something wrong. Then I started Googling Morefield Campground and learned that he may very well be correct.

Has Mesa Verde been turned over entirely to Aramark?

There was a term in the NPS MEVE website that I've never seen before. "Extended Amenities." Can anyone out there explain that?

I'm not trying to be sarcastic or anything here. I'm asking sincerely.

{{ I just got onto the campground reservation page -- which I was sent to by a link in the NPS page. I clicked "Senior" and found that there is, indeed, apparently no Golden Age discount. The camp fee is $26 per night -- with a $1.30 TAX added to the price each night. As Ben said, that is for a "dry" campsite. My word! What's happening here? }}

I can't explain the campground, but I do know the tour fees were added because the budget just wasn't large enough to handle the number of rangers needed for the tours or to pay for the restoration crew to continually fix the dwellings. About 1,000 people a day go through Cliff Palace and I can't even begin to guess how many go through Spruce Tree House. This causes a lot of damage and the sites are being continually repaired.

RangerLady -- agreed. No problem with fees for tours. But what's the story with the campground? There may -- or may not -- be a logical explanation. Whatever it is, I think we need to hear what it is.

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