Biscayne National Park, located in Florida, is the newest unit within the National Park System to propose an increase in fees for camping to pay for maintenance and other expenses that aren’t being covered by Congress, a report said.
Recently, similar ideas were proposed for Natural Bridges and Hovenweep national monuments, Point Reyes National Seashore, Shenandoah National Park, and Indiana Dunes National Park.
Officials at Biscayne say the increased fees will pay for improved services for visitors and tackle issues like noise complaints, garbage disposal, damage to resources, and maintenance of the facilities.
The fee change would begin from Jan. 1 in 2022 for the park’s Boca Chita and Elliott Keys campgrounds.
“The proposed fee plan would enable Biscayne National Park to enhance safety, security, and overall campground management,” said Biscayne National Park Superintendent Penelope Del Bene.
“The public’s feedback on this proposal is important to us and will help inform plans to provide the kind of park experience our visitors deserve.”
According to the park’s plan, visitors will be subject to an increase of $10 across the board for both campsites. This increase would also be used to pay administrative costs associated with shifting the payment system for campgrounds from a cash-based honor system to a method called Scan and Pay, an on-site payment tool available on the Recreation.gov mobile application.
According to the plan, new charges would be $35 per night for campers and boat docking at Boca Chita or Elliott Key and $25 per night for camping only at these places.
The park uses eighty percent of the campground fee revenues to finance initiatives related to the visitor experience, which include the maintenance, repair, and improvement of facilities at the campground, in addition to other purposes, the park’s release stated.
The remainder of the money improves visitors’ experience at parks that are not fee-based in the National Park System. Recent examples of how Biscayne National Park has invested the camping fee to fund park projects include improving signage on campsites, replacing barbecue grills and picnic tables, and modernizing the comfort stations.