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Public Meeting Set To Discuss Entrance Fee Increases Proposed For Zion, Bryce Canyon, And Cedar Breaks

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It could soon cost you a little more to enjoy this view at Bryce Canyon National Park/Kurt Repanshek

With timing running out to comment on proposed increases in entrance fees at Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks, as well as Cedar Breaks National Monument, all in Utah, the National Park Service has scheduled an open house to discuss the proposals with the public. Park superintendents and staff from all three park areas will be in attendance.

The open house will take place this Thursday, January 8, from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at the Iron County Visitor Center located at 581 North Main Street, Cedar City, Utah.

At Zion, officials are proposing to boost the entrance fee by $5, to $30 per vehicle for seven days. A pass for a motorcycle is proposed to increase from $12 to $25, while hikers/bicyclists would be asked to pay $15, up from $12. Campground fees at Zion also are proposed for an increase, from $16 to $20 for sites without electric hookups, and from $18-$20 to $30 for sites with electricity.

At Bryce Canyon,  officials are proposing to increase the entrance fee for single, private vehicles from $25 to $30 and charge motorcycles a flat $25 fee instead of the former $12 per rider, both valid for a week. Those traveling by foot, bicycle or ski would be charged $15 if the proposals are approved. The park is also proposing to increase the flat rate of $15 per front-country campsite (regardless of size) to $20 for tent sites and $30 for recreational vehicles in an effort to better align its prices with those of campsites outside of the park. Overnight backcountry campers would be charged a flat rate of $5 per person per trip.

At Cedar Breaks, the per person entrance fee, valid for seven days, would change from $4 per person, age 16 years and older, to $7 per person. An increase in the campground fees is proposed to go from $14 per night to $22 per night.

Park Service officials note that more than 80 percent of collected fee revenues are reinvested directly back into the park they are collected within. In Bryce Canyon, recently funded projects include new comfort stations, new museum exhibits, trail rehabilitation projects, and operation of the park'™s popular visitor shuttle bus system. Projects in Zion include rehabilitation of South Campground roads and restrooms (2010-2014), construction of a new visitor Restroom at the Temple of Sinewava, Preservation of the Historic Cable Mountain Draw Works and operation of the visitor shuttle bus system, among numerous other projects. Recent fee funded projects accomplished at Cedar Breaks include the addition of hot showers and other improvements in the campground, and many trail and potable water system improvements. A new ADA accessible trail from the visitor center area to Sunset View Overlook is planned for 2015.

Future revenues from the proposed fee increases will be used to support and enhance other visitor services including maintenance of park facilities, additional upgrades to campgrounds, restoration of historic buildings and landscapes, and additional park interpretive and educational programs, the Park Service said.

Comments on Bryce Canyon'™s proposed fee increases will be accepted online through Monday, January 12, at this site.  Written comments may be mailed to Superintendent, Bryce Canyon National Park, Attn: Fee Proposal, PO Box 640201, Bryce, UT 84764

The public comment period for Zion'™s fee proposal is open through January 23.  You may submit comments on-line at this site. Written comments may also be mailed to: Fee Program Coordinator, Zion National Park, Springdale, UT  84767

The public comment period for Cedar Breaks runs through January 30. You may submit comments by email at [email protected] and by U.S. Mail: ATTN '“ Proposed Fee Increase, Cedar Breaks National Monument, 2390 West Highway 56, Cedar City, UT 84720. 



BLM is required to receive "general public support" for any fee proposal before it can  be implemented (required by FLREA).  To make this determination BLM (at least here in Utah), makes a rough approximation of the gross visitation to the area being proposed for a fee increase, and then compares the input recieved against that total.  Non input is assumed to be approval (or at least not objection) thus unless the agency receives a negative response from over half the calculated visitation, it assumes the proposal is ok with the public.  After being informed of this methodology (not officially of course), it became useless to even respond since if the BLM really wanted the fee increase it could very easily justify it (which is repeatedly has done).   NPS is not even required to follow the '"general public support" requirement of FLREA but if it did want to justfy its fee increase at Bryce Canyon it could easily take a similar approach which would mean that over 700,000 negative responses would have to be received before it would reconsider the fee increase proposal.   Based on this I'm not sure exactly what the purpose of the public meeting really is (it will be interesting to hear the turnout).  If superintendent(s) want the increases they will get them and will easily be able to justfy them.  At this point the only way to way to fight fee increases is to lobby for assigning an enlightened superintendent who understand the true soul of the parks to the public (like at ELMO and CHIR).           

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