Grand Teton to charge fees for backcountry camping

2013-11-25T13:13:00Z 2013-11-25T23:53:26Z Grand Teton to charge fees for backcountry campingYellowstone Gate The Billings Gazette
November 25, 2013 1:13 pm  • 

Getting away from it all in Grand Teton National Park will cost a little more next year, as the park has announced hikes in fees for backcountry camping and permits for other activities, from weddings to commercial filming.

Starting Jan. 8, backcountry camping permits will be $25, with an additional $10 fee for advanced reservations, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.

A recent evaluation showed that Grand Teton was not covering the cost of issuing the permits and managing the related activities based on the fees charged.

The annual revenue under the current permit system does not fully cover the operational costs of managing permitted programs, park officials said. Cost-recovery includes all expenses incurred to process a permit application, monitor a permitted activity, and perform site restoration, when necessary.

Backcountry permits had previously cost nothing when issued in person, or $25 for an advance reservation.

Grand Teton will begin booking backcountry camping reservations through Recreation.gov, managed by Reserve America. Transition to Recreation.gov will allow users to plan their trip and receive immediate confirmation. The statement did not detail what additional steps, if any, have been taken to increase efficiency or productivity in the permitting process.

Charges for special use permits have not been updated since 2002.

Approximately 250–300 special-use applications are received annually, all of which require review. Applications for permits include weddings, commercial filming and special events. Park officials said most of the applications result in the issuance of a permit, and the need for monitoring of the permitted activity.

The adjusted special-use charges for 2014 are: $100 for weddings, $175 for events, $275 for commercial filming less than 6 months, $325 for commercial filming 6–12 months. There is no charge for scattering ashes or First Amendment requests.

Permit fees are a one-time, nonrefundable payment submitted by the applicant with the completed application. If the application is approved, the permittee may be responsible for additional cost-recovery charges associated with monitoring the activity and for site restoration, if necessary.

In the future, all cost-recovery charges may be evaluated annually and adjusted when necessary.

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