The National Park Service (NPS) announced today Assateague Island National Seashore will modify its entrance fees to provide additional funding for infrastructure and maintenance needs to enhance the visitor experience. Effective May 1, 2018, the per-person fee will be $10 per person; other fees will remain unchanged. Then, on January 1, 2020, the entrance fees for the park per person rate will be $15, per vehicle will $25, per motorcycle will be $20 and annual park pass will be $45. All of the money received from entrance fees remains with the National Park Service with at least 80 percent of the revenue going to Assateague Island National Seashore.
Revenue from entrance fees remains in the National Park Service and helps ensure a quality experience for all who visit. Here in Assateague Island National Seashore, at least 80 percent of entrance fees stay in the park and are devoted to spending that supports the visitor. We share the other 20 percent of entry fee income with other national parks for their projects.
In response to public comments on a fee proposal released in October 2017, there will be a modest increase for all entrance fee-charging parks, rather than the higher peak-season fees initially proposed only for 17 highly-visited national parks.
“This modest increase in entrance fees will allow us to continue to protect, preserve and share the special places here at Assateague Island National Seashore with current visitors and future generations “said Park Superintendent Deborah Darden, “Fee revenue makes it possible for us to continue to provide a high quality visitor experience in both Virginia and Maryland.”
National parks have experienced record breaking visitation, with more than 1.5 billion visitors in the last five years. Throughout the country, the combination of an aging infrastructure and increased visitation has put a strain on park roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms, and other visitor services and led to a $11.6 billion deferred maintenance backlog nationwide.
The additional revenue from entrance fees at Assateague Island National Seashore will replace the deteriorating guard rail along the Bayberry Drive and outdated interpretive wayside exhibits through the park, among other projects.
Entrance fees collected by the National Park Service totaled $199.9 million in Fiscal Year 2016. The NPS estimates that once fully implemented, the new fee structure will increase annual entrance fee revenue by about $60 million.
Assateague Island National Seashore has had an entrance fee since 1971. The current rate of $20 per vehicle or $15 per motorcycle has been in effect since 2015. The park is one of 117 National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee, the other 300 national parks will remain free to enter.
The price of the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass and Lifetime Senior Pass will remain $80.
The National Park Service has a standardized entrance fee structure, composed of four groups based on park size and type. Assateague Island National Seashore is one of 33 sites in group 2. Some parks not yet aligned with the other parks in their category will raise their fees incrementally and fully incorporate the new entrance fee schedule by January 1, 2020. Assateague Island National Seashore is one of these parks.
The complete fee schedule will change according to the following:
Assateague Island National Seashore
Motorcycle Park Specific Annual Pass
Current $20 $5 $15 $40
May 1, 2018 $20 $10 $15 $40
Jan 1, 2020 $25 $15 $20 $45