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Gulf Islands National Seashore Proposing Huge Jumps In Fees At Fort Pickens, Davis Bayou Campgrounds


Site fees at the Fort Pickens and Davis Bayou campgrounds at Gulf Islands National Seashore will jump 50 percent and more under a proposal the seashore is seeking public comment on.

In announcing the proposed increases, Superintendent Dan Brown said the higher fees -- which would represent the first increase since 1997 if approved -- are intended in part so the seashore's campgrounds don't undersell commercial campgrounds in the area.

Under the proposal, the camping fees at Fort Pickens Campground in Florida will go from $20 to $30 a day, and at the Davis Bayou Campground in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, from $16 to $26. The camping fees at both campgrounds include electric and water hookups.

Senior Pass and Access Pass holders would continue to receive a 50 percent discount.

Over the past 16 years, rates at private and state park campgrounds have risen to keep pace with increasing costs, the seashore noted in announcing the proposed increases. The new rates "would make the camping fees at Gulf Islands National Seashore comparable with those of other camping facilities in the area to avoid unfair competition," the release added.

Fees authorized by the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, such as camping or entrance fees, cannot be used to supplement operating budgets or hire staff. Eighty percent of these fees are retained by the national seashore, however, and can be used to help repair, improve, or replace visitor facilities.

In recent years fee revenues have replaced outdated restrooms in Davis Bayou Campground, purchased john boats for marsh tours, and upgraded the park radio system for increased visitor safety and emergency response. Upcoming projects include replacing the restrooms in the Fort Pickens Campground, remodeling the Fort Pickens Campground store, redesigning the entrance stations at Fort Pickens and Perdido Key to speed entry and reduce lines, and installing solar panels on West Ship Island to provide clean and renewable energy for visitor facilities.

Public comments on the proposed increases are being taken through March 25. They can be sent via email, or by regular mail to:

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Attn: Fee Program

1801 Gulf Breeze Pkwy

Gulf Breeze, FL 32563


Jarvis sure is getting the fees in before his new boss takes the helm. The National Fee Service. Fee, Fee, Fee, Fee. Am I to understand that taxes are used to fund the NPS? Are they moving towards a purely fee based financing structure? Is that the message they are sending the American public? Hmmm. Jarvis doesn't seem to have the ability to work within his budget. Wonder what would happen if he were in the private sector.

Taxes and fees both have been part of the equation as long as I've been aware.

Live within his budget? He hasn't been given the budget that the job demands as long as he has been in the office.

You sound like a bitter bitter man, wanting his pie but not willing to pay the baker.

Goes right back to the mantra we're hearing everywhere: Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut -- but don't even think of cutting anything that will affect ME!

They just increased the fees for backcountry camping in the Everglades and posted inoperable, bogus links for public comments. These fees are predetermined and in no way influenced by public desire or wishes. That is my beef with Jarvis and his fee culture. People who are not upset with this current mindset of the NPS culture are worrisome to me. They dig as deeply as possible into the wallets of taxpayers with no oversight. I wish the NPS had some oversight instead of a senate committee that signs off on everything they do.

Rick B, am past the snark replies but am just posting a fact to settle into the reality of the issues.

"Live within his budget? He hasn't been given the budget that the job demands as long as he has been in the office."

As was the case, the Democrats held both houses of Congress and the WH the first two years after 2009. After 2010 midterms they lost the House. The Dems have only submitted a budget one year of the last four. Still haven't submitted a budget this year. Obama did send a budget once that did not get one vote (either Dems or Repubs). I know the condition where one supports one side beyond all reason. Just saying that settling the books is good policy for all of us. Conservatives must win the battle or we are all screwed. Like a Meth Addict, you quit or die.

Something else to ponder:


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