Gulf Islands National Seashore Raises Entrance Fees
A trip to the Gulf Islands National Seashore will cost you a bit more beginning this week. For the first time since 2002, the fees at Gulf Islands National Seashore have been raised.
The increase went into effect Sunday. The fee for a single car has almost doubled, increasing from $8 to $15. Pedestrians and cyclists have seen an increase to $7 and the cost of an annual pass has increased to $30, a $5 jump.
Dan Brown, the superintendent at the seashore says the money will be put to good use. "100 percent of the fees are retained by the National Park Service, and 80 percent of the fees that we collect remain here at Gulf Islands." Brown also says the law that allows them to collect fees also says the money must be spent in ways that directly impact the visiting public.
And the visiting public has been saying they’d like new rest rooms. Superintendent Brown says that will be project number one. When the park service took over what was then Fort Pickens State Park, they also inherited the restrooms which are now approaching 60 to 70 years of age. "They're just at a point where they can no longer be repaired and they're difficult to clean and so forth."
Another change will be at Fort Barrancas. Brown says the park service will soon be collecting entrance fees at Fort Barrancas as soon as some infrastructure and planning is completed, probably in the fall. Over the years the fort has been closed periodically, but with the new fees that should no longer be an issue.
The rate hike comes as the National Park Service tries to set consistent rate structures at all of its locations across the country.