RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The National Park Service announced that new fees will be implemented over the next two years for certain Shenandoah National Park activities. Additional or increased payments from campers, backcountry campers and Old Rag hikers will be used to fund projects and services at the park.
According to park service release, there will be an increase to camping fees, the implementation of fees for backcountry campers and a pilot program for one-day hiking passes to access Old Rag. These will be in addition to standard entry fees.
“Shenandoah National Park will use the increased revenue to fund projects and services that will benefit the visitor and contribute to the protection of Shenandoah’s natural and cultural resources,” explained Superintendent Patrick Kenney. “As a result, visitors can expect improvements in the campgrounds over the next few years, such as new picnic tables and fire grates.”
The camping fees will increase to $30 for all campgrounds and $75 for group sites. The camping fees which currently range from $15 to $20 had not been increased since 2007. According to the park service website, group campsites at Shenandoah usually range from $45 to $50.
There is no fee for people who choose to skip the campground and camp in the backcountry but that will change in 2023 or later. Backpackers already have to acquire a permit to stay overnight in the backcountry but now a fee will be involved. The park will also add an online permit system. According to the National Parks Service, most other parks require a backcountry permit fee.
As for Old Rag, one of the park’s most popular hikes, there will be pilot program for day-hiking tickets starting in March 2022.
“The pilot project will allow the Park to evaluate a strategy for managing this highly popular hike in Shenandoah, with a goal of providing a high-quality visitor experience in an area of the Park that continues to see high visitation,” said Kenney.
The changes were announced after a public comment period lasting from Aug. 15 to Sept. 16. More details will be available from the National Park Service as the changes get closer.