Theodore Roosevelt National Park popularity up: 1-year pass sales up nearly 800 over last yearFee-based access to Theodore Roosevelt National Park on most days hasn’t been enough to hamper the park’s increasing popularity.
By: Betsy Simon, The Dickinson Press
Fee-based access to Theodore Roosevelt National Park on most days hasn’t been enough to hamper the park’s increasing popularity.
In the current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2011, and ends today, the park sold 1,950 one-year pass holds, said Eileen Andes, interpreter at TRNP.
That is up nearly 800 passes over the previous fiscal year, when the park sold 1,152 one-year passes, and more than double the passes sold in fiscal year 2010, at 960 passes.
“We think that increase is due to the influx of new residents to the area who want to take advantage of having a national park in their backyard,” Andes said. “They don’t want to pay each time they come to the national park, and this way they can enjoy a day or a weekend here anytime they want.”
A day-pass to TRNP, which is good for seven days, costs $10. Visitors can purchase a year pass for $20.
The NPS also offers the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands annual pass for $80.
The pass allows free entrance for a year into more than 2,000 national park or other federal lands that typically require an entrance fee.
Andes said several of the passes have been sold to visitors coming through TRNP.
But anyone trying to watch their wallets can also enjoy the National Park Service’s fee-free days, which included Saturday’s National Public Lands Day.
Andes said it is impossible to know exactly how many visitors took advantage of the waiver to gain one-day, no-cost access to either of the park’s North or South units.
“These days are not only important to the park, but to creating awareness about all public lands, forest service lands and lands operated by other federally-run agencies,” Andes said.
North Dakota’s other two national parks — Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site near Williston and Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site near Stanton — charge no admission fees. They are among the 264 of the 397 national parks in the U.S. that are always free for the public to visit.
The NPS will have one more fee-free weekend this year, Nov. 10 through Nov. 12, in honor of Veterans Day weekend.
Fees waivers include park entrance, commercial tours and transportation entrance fees. Other fee collections, like camping, will still be assessed on waiver days.
Other cost-free entrance days this year included the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, National Park Week and Get Outdoors Day.
“This is an excellent chance for visitors to experience the park, spend time outdoors and enjoy the beautiful fall weather,” Superintendent Valerie Naylor said in a press release. “We’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the park is always open and we welcome visitors to take advantage of this fee free day.”
Andes said this weekend the park will be full of color as autumn sets in, making it the perfect time for visitors.
“These days are encouragement for people to come and appreciate the lands, enjoy the scenery and have a great day,” she said.