Zion National Park Proposing Fee Increases For Camping
Zion National Park is proposing fee changes for use of campgrounds and Wilderness Recreation Permits within the park. You can probably guess these will not be fee decreases. However, the National Park Service is looking for your input for the proposed changes.
In a news release, Zion National Park Supervisor Jeff Bradybaugh said, “Fee dollars do great things for visitors at Zion. These funds help us maintain essential facilities like restrooms and drinking water systems, rehabilitate campsites, and ensure rangers are available to patrol trails, canyoneering routes, and other Wilderness areas.”
The proposed would apply to all campgrounds in the park. Those include the South Campground, Watchman Campground, which recently had a small fire incident, and Lava Point Campground. By example, the fee increase proposal for the Watchman Campground Electric Campsite would be from $30 to $45.
The dump stations for non campers at Watchman and the South Campground currently have no fees, but under the proposal a $5 fee would be charged.
Zion currently relies on a third-party contractor to service our digital Wilderness Recreation Permit interface. Zion proposes to migrate its Wilderness Recreation Permit system to recreation.gov.
The park maintains that making the change to recreation.gov would benefit visitors by streamlining the permit application process, simplifying access to trip planning information and providing an experience consistent with other parks, recreation areas, and other Federal Lands across the United States.
The change would also ensure Zion complies with Federal regulations related to online data security.
The last time campground fees in Zion changed was in 2015, and they have not changed Wilderness Recreation Permit fees since 2016. In that year, the park recorded about 3.6 million visits. In 2021, Zion recorded more than 5 million visits – the most in its history. Rising visitation has correlated with increased demand for campsites and increased need for facility maintenance services such as cleaning restrooms, removing recyclables and trash, and servicing roads and campsites.
Rising visitation has also resulted in increased stress on the plants, animals, and historic sites in Zion Wilderness. Rangers who issue Wilderness permits provide guidance so that visitors are able to complete their trips safely and use techniques to conserve these areas. That guidance is essential to ensuring the park’s least developed areas remain wild.
The park claims the proposed changes would ensure Zion is able to continue to steward public health and provide enjoyable experiences for visitors who stay in campgrounds and who recreate in Wilderness.
To leave you feedback please go to Park Planning, Environment and Comment website. Feedback is being accepted through August 31st.