Entrance, Campground Fees to Increase in Glacier Park this Fall

New entrance fees to go into effect in November, a year after National Park Service proposed change

By Justin Franz

Entrance and campground fees in Glacier National Park are slated to increase this fall, the National Park Service announced Tuesday.

The rise in prices comes a year after the National Park Service first proposed the increases and officials say the new fees are consistent with other large parks. The fees will increase starting with the winter season on Nov. 1.

The cost of an annual pass will go from $35 to $45 in January and to $50 in January 2017. The park originally proposed increasing the annual pass price to $60 but it received push back from the public. The weekly entrance fee for a vehicle will increase by $5, meaning it will cost $20 in the winter and $30 in the summer starting May 2016. The weekly entrance fee for an individual will not increase during the winter but will increase from $12 to $15 in the summer.

This is the first time Glacier Park has increased entrance fees since 2006.

The park is able to collect fees with the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, which allows it to collect entrance and camping fees, and retain 80 percent of the collected revenue. The remaining 20 percent is distributed throughout the National Park System. Basic park operations are funded by direct appropriations from Congress.

Camping fees will also increase across the park. The cost of a front country campsite, including ones at St. Mary, Apgar and Two Medicine, will go from $50 to $60 starting in May 2016. The cost of a reserved campsite at one of those locations will increase from $53 to $65. Fees at the Many Glacier campground will increase from $20 per site to $23.

Beginning in May 2016, the federal reservation system will also be used for approximately half of the camp sites at the Many Glacier Campground. The remaining sites not included on the reservation system will be first-come first-serve.

Backcountry camping fees for walk-in permit reservations are also changing from $5 per night, per person, to $7 starting in 2016. Also, advance reservation backcountry camping permits will now include a non-refundable $10 application fee, bringing the cost from $30 to $40.

Glacier began charging for overnight backcountry permits in 1997 with the goal of partially funding the program, however recent changes to backcountry permit program funding requirements necessitate full program cost recovery starting in fiscal year 2016.  The park has determined that a fee increase, along with use of other established non-fee fund sources, is the best way to limit backcountry permit fee increases.

Officials say that the fee increases could bring in an additional $500,000 annually to the park. The funds generated by the new fees will be used on various projects that enhance visitor services and facilities, including trail and campsite maintenance.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify the fee increases at the Many Glacier Campground. 

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