Tuesday, November 21, 2017

National Park Service Extends Public Comment Period for Proposed Peak-Season Entrance Fees at 17 Parks

The National Park Service has extended the public comment periods for the proposed peak-season entrance fees at 17 national parks and revised fees for road-based commercial tours and will accept comments until December 22, 2017. If implemented, the increased fees would generate needed revenue for improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks.

The deadlines, originally scheduled for November 23, have been extended to accommodate interest in this issue from members of Congress and the public. Already, more than 65,000 comments have been received on the proposals.

Under the proposal, peak-season entrance fees would be established at 17 highly visited national parks. The peak season for each park would include its busiest contiguous five-month period of visitation. The peak season entrance fee for a seven-day pass to each park would be $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person on bike or foot. A park-specific annual pass for any of the 17 parks would be available for $75.

The cost of the annual America the Beautiful- The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which provides entrance to all federal lands, including all national parks for a one-year period, would remain $80. Entrance fees are not charged to visitors under 16 years of age or holders of Senior, Military, Access, Volunteer, or Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) passes. The majority of national parks will remain free to enter; only 118 of 417 parks have an entrance fee.

The proposed new fee structure would be implemented at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks with peak season starting on May 1, 2018; in Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks with peak season starting on June 1, 2018; and in Joshua Tree National Park as soon as practicable in 2018.

Fees have long been an important source of revenue used to improve the visitor experience and recreation opportunities in national parks and on other federal lands. Estimates suggest that the peak season price structure could increase national park revenue by $70 million per year. The funds would be used to improve roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms, and other amenities which enhance the visitor experience. Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, 80% of entrance fees remain in the park where they are collected. The other 20% of the revenue is distributed to other national parks.

Access to the vast majority of National Park Service sites remains free; only 118 of 417 National Park Service units charge an entrance fee.

The public can comment period on the peak-season entrance fee proposal until December 22, 2017, on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website https://parkplanning.nps.gov/proposedpeakseasonfeerates. Written comments can be sent to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.

The public comment period for proposed entry and permit fee adjustments for commercial tour operators has also been extended until December 22. The proposal would increase entry fees for commercial operators and standardize commercial use authorization (CUA) requirements for road-based commercial tours, including application and management fees. All CUA fees stay within the collecting park and would fund rehabilitation projects for buildings, facilities, parking lots, roads, and wayside exhibits that would enhance the visitor experience. The fees will also cover the administrative costs of receiving, reviewing, and processing CUA applications and required reports.

The proposal also includes a peak-season commercial entry fee structure for the 17 national parks referenced above. All proposed fee adjustments for commercial operators would go into effect following an implementation window.

Information and a forum for public comments regarding commercial permit requirements and fees is available until December 22, 2017 on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commercialtourrequirements. Written comments can be sent to National Park Service, Recreation Fee Program, 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Brainard Lake Road Closures Thru July 2018

The Brainard Lake Road between the Peak-to-Peak Highway (SH 72) and the Brainard Gateway Trailhead parking area will be closed on certain days to all public uses during reconstruction from November 2017 through July 2018. Closure dates will be updated on www.brainardroad.com along with re-openings, whenever new information becomes available.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Thursday, November 9, 2017

National Parks Commemorate Veterans Day

The National Park Service will commemorate Veterans Day and the service of American military members past and present with special events and free admission in parks throughout the country on November 11 and 12. The National Park Service’s American Military website contains a list of events as well as other military-related outreach and information.

“More than 100 national parks have direct connections to American military history, including frontier forts and Cold War sites, battlefields and national cemeteries, memorials and patriotic shrines, “ said Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds. “These special places pay tribute to our veterans and serve as reminders of their selfless service and sacrifice throughout the history of our nation.”

From the colonial Minutemen who stood in defense of their rights, homes, and families near the North Bridge to modern warriors gathered for a reenlistment ceremony at the Statue of Liberty, the history of the National Park Service is interwoven with that of the United States military. In fact, each plays a part in the origin story of the other. The U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and Navy were established by the Founding Fathers in buildings preserved in Independence National Historical Park. And, in 1886, the 1st U.S. Cavalry was dispatched to Yellowstone to stop the vandalism, poaching, and trespassing that threatened the world’s first national park. The military continued to oversee several of the country’s earliest national parks until the National Park Service was established in 1916.

During World War II, Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, Denali, Hot Springs, and Carlsbad Caverns national parks hosted rest and rehabilitation camps for service members. This tradition of providing veterans and active duty military members with opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and camaraderie in the great outdoors continues today and includes partnerships with many service-related organizations. From high-adrenaline outdoor activities to peaceful experiences in the wilderness, national parks provide a variety of opportunities to enhance physical, social, mental, and spiritual fitness. Many parks are popular destinations for active adventures like hiking, climbing, cycling, swimming, and scuba diving, while others are known for more tranquil activities such as camping, fishing, wildlife watching, and observing the night sky.

The National Park Service also salutes its employees and volunteers who have served in the military. Their skills provide a wealth of benefits to national parks and park visitors. To name just a few of the career fields they fill in the National Park Service, veterans are accountants, archeologists, heavy equipment operators, historians, human resources specialists, law enforcement officers, mechanics, park managers, pilots, and wildlife biologists. The 5,813 employees who are veterans comprise 28 percent of the workforce. Park Ranger James Pierce, a combat-wounded veteran who now works at the National Mall and Memorial Parks, said, “I am very proud to be part of the National Park Service where I can continue to serve and give back to my country, just in a different uniform. Working at national memorials that are dedicated to those who have fought and died for our freedom means everything to me."

In addition to special programs in parks across the country, all national parks will provide free admission to everyone on November 11 and 12. When in a park, active duty members of the military and their dependents can pick up a free annual pass to all national parks. Veterans with a permanent disability are eligible for a free lifetime pass. The passes provide free entrance to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and other federal recreational areas. The passes can be acquired at any national park that usually charges an admission fee.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Night Sky Program at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

Activities Planned at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in November:

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is open year round. During November, the Monument is open every day of the week from 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM. Here are some of the activities taking place this month:

Fee Free Weekend, Saturday/Sunday November 11-12, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM. In honor of Veterans Day, entrance fees at all 417 national park areas will be waived for the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, November 11 – 12. Florissant Fossil Beds offers a beautiful landscape and historical features where you can reflect on the public lands, history, and stories that make up our national heritage.

Friday, November 17, Night Sky Program, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM. Join park staff and members of the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society to gaze at the dark skies above Florissant Fossil Beds in search of planets, galaxies, nebulas, and more. Meet at the Visitor Center.

There are no additional fees for any park programs beyond the daily entrance fee. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument offers 15 miles of beautiful, yet lesser known, hiking trails to explore, a free Junior Ranger Program, two short self-guided trails, a park video and museum exhibits, and bookstore. For additional information, please call (719) 748-3253 or visit the park website: www.nps.gov/fl



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Free Admission on Veterans Day Weekend in Colorado National Monument

To honor veterans who have served our country, Colorado National Monument will offer free entrance to all visitors on November 11 and 12, 2017 in honor of Veterans Day.

“Colorado National Monument is a place where our military members and their families can find enjoyment, inspiration and when needed, solace,” said Superintendent Ken Mabery. “This year we are providing free entrance on the Saturday and Sunday of Veterans Day Weekend to encourage all Americans to remember those who have served and to enjoy this beautiful area their service protects.”

The National Park Service (NPS) is waiving entrance fees at all sites on November 11 and 12. To learn more about the many NPS sites commemorating America's military conflicts and honoring those who served, visit www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/military-remember.htm

Fall hours are now in effect at Colorado National Monument. The visitor center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.

For additional information please visit www.nps.gov/colm or call 970-858-3617, ext. 360.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Monday, November 6, 2017

Canyon Lakes Recruiting Cameron Pass Nordic Rangers for 2017/2018 Season

The Canyon Lakes Ranger District is looking for volunteers to ski or snowshoe this winter in the busy Cameron Pass area, where 32 miles of trail can see over 300 skiers a day on a weekend.

Volunteers ski or snowshoe “with a purpose,” helping the Forest Service educate winter visitors and provide winter use statistics. To volunteer, participants take part in a minimum of four days patrolling and attend Forest Service-provided training. The kick-off meeting is Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at 2150 Centre Ave., Building E, in Fort Collins. The required classroom training is Nov. 29, 6-9 p.m. and the required field training is Dec. 2 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, call Kristy Wumkes at 970-295-6721 or email kwumkes@fs.fed.us.

Along with a general introduction to the program, the kick-off also introduces potential new members to many of our partner-organizations, such as Jax Outdoor Gear and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and to some of the returning Nordic rangers.

The Cameron Pass Nordic Ranger program began in 1992. Volunteers assist the Forest Service by skiing or snowshoeing area trails to provide safety, trail, and low-impact backcountry use information to winter enthusiasts; help maintain area ski trails and trailheads for safety; and gather visitor use information to aid in Forest Service planning. Some of the Nordic rangers work as a winter trail crew to help keep the trails cleared of downed trees and limbs, install signs, and shovel paths to the restrooms. Last year, 90 enthusiastic winter recreationists volunteered!

This popular area includes trails that border Highway 14 between Chambers Lake and Cameron Pass. The area receives enough snow to ski before many others and snow often remains after other areas have lost their snow cover. For this reason, the number of winter recreationists at Cameron Pass continues to grow. Many of the trails are in the Rawah and Neota Wilderness areas, where routes can be challenging. Backcountry skiing also includes risks inherent with winter conditions in the mountains, including extreme cold. These are some of the key reasons volunteers in the area are so valuable to its many users, especially those with little winter sports experience.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Friday, November 3, 2017

Climber Injured This Past Sunday On Martha’s Couloir Route On Mount Lady Washington

On Sunday, October 29, at approximately 11 a.m. Megan Kies, 31, from Lafayette, Colorado, was climbing the Martha's Couloir route on Mount Lady Washington in Rocky Mountain National Park, when she was struck by a rock that was dislodged above her. Climbers in the area notified park staff via cell phone of the incident. She received multiple life threatening injuries.

Kies’ climbing partner and two additional climbers in the area provided aid to Kies. She was roped in when the incident happened and they were able to lower her. An additional bystander provided updated information on her condition and location to park staff.

Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue Team members arrived on scene at 2 p.m. and provided Advanced Life Support care and placed Kies in a litter. With the assistance of bystanders, rescuers lowered her approximately 240 feet to the base of the climb. From there, they lowered her an additional 100 feet to a location on the scree slope above Chasm Lake.

Due to her location and severity of injuries, park rangers requested assistance from a Colorado National Guard helicopter to extricate her via a hoist operation, using a winch operated cable. This occurred at 5:20 p.m. A pre-staged Flight for Life air ambulance was landed in Chasm Meadow and received the patient from the National Guard helicopter. She was then flown from Chasm Meadow to St. Anthony's in Denver in critical condition. Rocky Mountain Rescue also assisted Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue Team with this incident.

Martha's Couloir is a popular mixed rock, snow and ice climb in the Chasm Cirque.



Jeff
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com