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COMMENT BY Dec 31 - Fee increases proposed at Lava Beds National Monument. Public feedback will play major role in decision-making process
by LACEY JARRELL, Herald and News 12/4/14
     TULELAKE — Lava Beds National Monument is seeking public comment on fee increases proposed for 2015. The comment period is open until Dec. 31.

   Public feedback will help determine how, or if, the National Park Service directs Lava Beds National Monument to increase fees, according to a news release.

   The fee increases would be part of a larger National Park Service initiative to standardize   fees. The new fees would be implemented in 2015, but timing could vary based on public feedback, the release said.

   Similar hikes are being proposed at Crater Lake National Park.

   “We are committed to keeping the monument affordable to visitors, but we also want to provide visitors with the best possible experience,” said Lava Beds National Monument Superintendent Mike Reynolds.

   “The money from entrance and camping fees is used to improve visitor services and work   on the park’s maintenance backlog as we look toward the 2016 National Park Service Centennial.”

   Current entrance fees have been in place since 2003.

   According to the release, one- to seven-day vehicle fees could increase from $10 to $20. Passes for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians could increase from $5 to $10 per person. Motorcycle fees may switch from $5 per person to $15 per motorcycle.

   No change is slated for the $80 National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass or commercial group fees.

   The cost of a $20 annual Lava Beds pass, which   includes entrance to Crater Lake National Park, could jump to $40, but it will expand to provide entrance at Crater Lake National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.

   Youth under 16 years of age will not be charged for entrance, the release said. Visitors who have an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational pass or a $10 lifetime pass for those 62 or older also can forego daily fees.

   Campsite fees at Indian Well Campground will remain the same, according to the release.

   Additional revenue raised by the fee increases   will help provide funding for projects aimed at improving visitors’ experience at the monument. This year, entrance fees funded a “Cave Rover” project, which hired, trained and placed a park ranger and two summer interns in the caves, where they talked with visitors about cave safety, geology, history and wildlife.

   Additional projects funded by fees include 20 new educational signs along the Mushpot trail and a new vault toilet at the Schonchin Butte parking lot.

   Submit comments at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/labe   

    ljarrell@heraldandnews.com  ; @LMJatHandN



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