Fees to increase at Hawaii Volcanoes, Haleakala national parks

Visitors at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park gather after dark at the Jaggar Museum observation deck to observe the glow from a lava lake within Halemaumau Crater. (Photo: Alex Werjefelt)

Visitors can expect fees to increase incrementally at both Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Haleakala National Park over the next several years.

Park officials say the increases are necessary to fund maintenance and improvement projects, and to meet national standards for parks with similar visitor amenities.

The following increases will go into effect on June 1, 2015.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The per-vehicle entrance fee will increase in $5 increments from the current price of $10 per vehicle to $15 per-vehicle this year, $20 in 2016, and $25 in 2017. The vehicle pass is valid for seven days.

The per-person entrance fee (the rate bicyclists and pedestrians pay) will increase from the current rate of $5 to $8 on June 1, $10 in 2016, and to $12 in 2017.

The motorcycle fee will go up from $5 to $10 on June 1, $15 in 2016, and to $20 in 2017.

Entrance fees for recreational use have not increased since 1997.

The annual Tri-Park Pass, considered by many as the kamaaina, or residents pass, will remain at the current rate of $25 for 2015 and 2016, and will increase to $30 in 2017. The annual Tri-Park Pass is available to all visitors and allows unlimited entry for one year to three national parks: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, and Haleakala National Park.

New fees are also slated for all backcountry and front-country campsites, including Kulanaokuaiki Campground, and will be $10 per site per night. Backcountry campsites will have a stay limit of three consecutive nights, while the front-country campsites will have a stay limit of seven consecutive nights. Currently, camping is free, except at Namakanipaio Campground, which is managed by Hawaii Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC. The new camping permit fees are similar to other public camping fees statewide.

In addition, entrance fees will increase for commercial tour companies.

“The increases over the next few years will enable us to continue to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors, while upgrading some basic services like our campgrounds,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We reached out to our community for their feedback on the new fees, and many comments were supportive of the increase as long as the Tri-Park Pass continued to be offered.”

Recreational entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years old, or holders of the Tri-Park, America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Senior, Access, or Military passes. These passes may be obtained at the park or online.

Pa Ka'oao trail rehabilitation (Photo: Haleakala National Park)
Pa Ka’oao trail rehabilitation (Photo: Haleakala National Park)

Haleakala National Park

The per-person fee will change from the current rate of $5 to $12 in 2017, in two-to-three dollar increments per year.

The per-vehicle pass will be raised in $5 increments from the current price of $10 to $25 in 2017.

The motorcycle fee will go from $5 to $20 in 2017, in $5 annual increases.

The annual Tri-Park Pass will remain at the current rate of $25 in 2015 and 2016, and then increase to $30 in 2017, as stated above.

From mid-October through mid-December 2014, a public comment period was held. Comments were gathered at visitor centers, online, via postal mail and email, and at two public meetings (one in Hana, the other in Pukalani). The park received 58 comments fully supportive of the proposed increases; 23 supportive if the fees were phased in or lowered; 56 comments opposed to any fee increase; and 16 miscellaneous comments. The park modified the proposed fee structure based on this input. The modified proposal was approved by national fee managers in Washington.

Currently Haleakala National Park collects $3 million annually in entrance fees. When entrance fee increases are fully implemented, estimated annual revenues will be over $7 million.

The current National Park Service fee program began in 1997 and allows parks to retain 80 percent of monies collected. The remaining 20 percent goes into a fund to support park units where fees are not charged.

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