On March 1, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area will resume collection of entrance fees which were suspended due to the Carr fire in late July. Additionally, the National Park Service announced that Whiskeytown will be one of 117 National Park Service sites to modify entrance fees to provide additional funding for infrastructure and maintenance needs to enhance the visitor experience. The other 300 national parks will remain free to enter.
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area has had an entrance fee since 1997. The current rate of
$20 per vehicle, $15 per motorcycle, and $10 per pedestrian/bicycle/public transit passenger has been in effect since 2018. They will each got up $5.
All of the money received from entrance fees remains with the National Park Service with at least 80 percent of the revenue going to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, which helps ensure a quality experience for all who visit. The other 20 percent of entry fee income is shared with other national parks for their projects. 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.
National parks have experienced record-breaking visitation, with more than 1.5 billion visitors in the past five years. Throughout the country, the combination of an aging infrastructure and increased visitation has put a strain on park roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms, and other visitor services and led to a $11.6 billion deferred maintenance backlog nationwide.
The additional revenue from entrance fees at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area will go to help fund repairs to park facilities damaged during the Carr fire, and to create shade structures at Oak Bottom and Whiskey Creek, among other projects. In past years, projects funded from fee revenue included new docks and marina improvements at Oak Bottom; multiple Americans with Disability Act-compliant improvements; new restrooms; and improvements to picnic areas, campgrounds, roads, and trails.
Closures due to the Carr fire are still in effect for public safety and protection of natural and cultural resources. Trails which have been reopened may still have hazards, to include falling trees/limbs, flash flooding/debris flows, and loose falling rocks – enter at your own risk and stay on established roads and trails.
The price of the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass, and the Lifetime Senior Pass will remain at $80.
The National Park Service has a standardized entrance fee structure, composed of four groups based on park size and type. Some parks not yet aligned with the other parks in their category will raise their fees incrementally and fully incorporate the new entrance fee schedule by Jan. 1, 2020.
Check the park website at www.nps.gov/whis or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/whiskeytownnationalrecreationarea/ for the latest park information.