Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park proposes fee increases for 2015
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is seeking public feedback on possible entrance fee increases starting in 2015. Entrance fees for recreational use have not increased since 1997.
“While we are committed to keeping the park affordable for everyone, we are also dedicated to providing the safest and most enjoyable experience for our visitors and community. Entrance fees are vital to support the numerous services and amenities that make the visitor experience possible,” said Superintendent Cindy Orlando.
For instance, a project underway now to replace the wooden boardwalk at the Pu‘u Loa Petroglyphs is paid for by entrance fees. Ongoing trail maintenance, cabin repairs, hike pamphlets, restrooms, and picnic tables are all funded with fee money. The transformation of the 1932 Administration Building (‘Ōhi‘a Wing) into a cultural museum that visitors will soon enjoy is also a fees-funded project.
Eighty percent of all entrance fees stay within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Orlando said. The money also protects the Hawaiian ecosystem by funding fencing projects that prevent non-native pests like pigs and goats from devouring rare native plants. Since 2006, fee revenues have funded $24,072,928 in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park projects.
Entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years old, or holders of the Tri-Park, America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Senior, Access, or Military passes. These passes may be obtained at the park, or online.
Under the proposed schedule, entrance fees would rise incrementally each year between 2015 and 2017. Fees for vehicles entering Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park would increase 50 percent in 2015 (from $10 in 2014 to $15), and in 2016, fees would be $20 per vehicle. In 2017, entrance fees would rise to $25 per vehicle and remain at $25 through 2021.
The costs for the annual Tri-Park Pass would stay the same until 2017, when it would increase from $25 to $50. The annual Tri-Park Pass allows unlimited entry to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Haleakalā National Park, and Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park for one year. Haleakalā National Park is proposing the same fee increase schedule.
Table of Proposed Recreational Fee Increases (in dollars) for Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park:
(good for 7 days)
(walk-ins & bicycles)
Under the proposed fee schedule, entrance fees would also increase for commercial tour companies. Currently, road-based tour vans carrying one to six passengers pay a $25 base fee and $5 per person to enter the park. The per-person entrance rates will increase to $8 in 2015; $10 in 2016; and $12 in 2017, through 2021. The base fee will not change. Non-road-based tour companies, i.e. hiking tour companies that are on trails more than they are touring the park by vehicle, don’t pay a base rate but their per-person fees would increase under the proposed schedule.
In addition, the park will soon charge $10 per permit for all overnight backcountry and front-country camping, with a maximum of three consecutive nights at one spot. Currently, camping is free, except at Nāmakanipaio Campground, which is managed by Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC. The new camping permit fees are similar to other public camping fees statewide.
The public is invited to submit comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/havo. Select the Proposed Entrance Fee Increases for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park link. Then click on the link to the left “Open for Comment,” and click on the document name. You can then download the document. You can also comment from the same screen using the link near the top, “Comment on Document.” The comment link is only valid during the comment period.
The public can also submit comments in writing, addressed to Superintendent, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, P.O. Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718. The deadline for comments is Dec. 15, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. Comment cards will also be provided at the Kīlauea Visitor Center seven days a week, from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information with your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
If the fee increases go into effect, visitors in 2015 will still enjoy a great value while visiting Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For $15 per vehicle (an increase of 50 percent from 2014), the seven-day pass averages $2.14/day for a family of four. By comparison, catching the latest blockbuster in a movie theatre typically runs a family of four about $45.
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is a significant driver to the island’s economy. A 2013 National Park Service report shows that 1,583,209 park visitors spent $124,937,400 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,476 local jobs.