Shenandoah park fees to increase on Jan. 1

Shenandoah National Park visitors will see an increase in park entrance fees beginning Jan. 1.

A fees comparison study conducted by the National Park Service as well as a static fund appropriation from Congress over the past 10 years or so led to the decision to move forward with a two-phase fee increase.

Sally Hurlbert is a public information officer for the park, which stretches from Front Royal to near Waynesboro.

“We, for many years, were lower than many parks of similar status,” she said. “They (National Park Service) decided they needed to raise our rate to be competitive with other parks.”

This marks the second of two increases. Prior to 2015, the charge per car to enter the park was $15. In 2015 the rate was increased to $20 a car and as of Jan. 1, the fee will be $25 per car. The rate per person (hikers without vehicles mostly) increased from $8 to $10 during the first phase but will not increase on  Jan. 1. Motorcycle fees increased from $10 to $15 in the first phase and will increase to $20 as of Jan. 1. All passes are good for seven days. Yearly passes increased in price from $40 to $50.

Hurlbert explained how the additional funds will be used.

“What’s really good for Shenandoah about this increase is that 80 percent of the fee stays in the park,” she said. “And that’s really helpful for us with all our projects and maintenance backlogs. The other 20 percent goes to parks that don’t have fees. That gets shared among all the other parks that don’t have fees. Its helping Shenandoah fantastically.”

Those who have purchased yearly passes at the current rate will still be able to use them for one year from the date of purchase.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com