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Yellowstone National Park Plans To Boost Campground Fees 30 Percent


It likely will be a bit pricier to pitch your tent in the front-country of Yellowstone National Park this summer, as park officials are proposing to boost nightly fees by 30 percent at campgrounds they operate as of May 1.

Under the proposal, the fee for staying in either the Mammoth Hot Springs or Norris campgrounds, both of which have flush toilets, will go from $14 a night to $20 a night. At the Tower Fall, Lewis Lake, Indian Creek, Pebble Creek, and Slough Creek campgrounds which have vault toilets, the daily camping fee would go from $12 to $15.

Individuals who hold a Senior Pass or Access Pass would continue to receive a 50-percent discount on camping fees charged at these National Park Service-operated campgrounds.

In their release announcing the proposed increases, Yellowstone officials noted they haven't increased campground fees in nine years, and that under the current rate structure their campground fees are lower than those charged by local commercial operators, neighboring National Forests, and Grand Teton National Park for campgrounds with similar facilities.

The park expects to realize roughly $150,000 a year from its campground fees if this proposal is implemented. That money would not necessarily go directly back into the campgrounds, but rather into the park's general fund for projects across Yellowstone, according to a park spokesman.

The Bridge Bay, Canyon, Grant, and Madison campgrounds and the Fishing Bridge RV Park in Yellowstone are operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Daily camping fees at these sites range from $20.50 to $45. They would not be affected by this proposal.

You can comment on this proposed increased at this site. You also can provide comments via regular postal mail to Visitor Services Office, Attention: Campground Fee Rate Increase, National Park Service, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.

All comments must be received or postmarked by midnight, February 28, 2013.


This is a necessary but unfortunate situation. I am happy to see the park service address their needs. Maybe access and seniors should pay more than half?

Does Yellowstone get to keep the money raised from its operations or does it go into the big hole in Washington?

See the 5th graf, Mike. It addresses your question.

Money is fungible. They get higher camp fees and Congress can decide they can send the tax dollars elsewhere. This is nothing but another tax.

Further how disingenuous to compare to private campgrounds who had to purchase/lease their land, pay taxes on it and aren't subsidized by the feds. Of course the Parks should be less.

Sometimes, ec, parks raise their campground fees so as not to undercut the commercial operations....

We recently camped at a very isolated BLM location in New Mexico ( .... $16.00/night. Potable water, free showers, all roads and pads paved, visitor center... very, very nice. We got the last spot available. It was located about 4 miles from a small community that had two RV campgrounds. We had looked at both prior to finding the BLM. The private campgrounds were not very nice, dirts pads and access roads, pads crowded together, and we didn't stay. They were essentially empty. Clearly the BLM spot was competing directly, and winning with the private.

We don't usually stay at private spots because they're too developed for us. We prefer to 'freegraze' on undeveloped public land. As nice as the blm was, it shouldn't be competing with the privates for the reasons ECBuck states.

Money is fungible.... but I do think that users should pay for what they want rather than it be subsidized by an Federal budget allocation. I'd as soon see park budgets dwindle and user fees replace it than the opposite.

I must say I have mixed feelings on this one. In most instances I don't feel bad about the parks competing with the privates since in most cases the parks/federal lands were there first and the privates knew exactly what the were getting into. In fact the privates are in many instances leveraging the draw of the park. As to fees, I think every attempt should be made to try to keep them low but they should be sufficient to cover the true cost. Let the government funds cover the park and the fees cover the cost of the campground.

For once I agree with ec. But handing park campgrounds off to concessionaires is a doubtful idea. I'd like to see a breakdown of where the money goes from the concession campgrounds in Yellowstone and at Mesa Verde.

Lee, what is your objection to concessionaires running the campground?

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