Mesa Verde National Park will hold an Open House on September 13, 2016 to discuss proposed entrance fee increases in 2017. The Open House will be held at First National Bank Conference Room, 2258 E Main Street, Cortez, Colorado at 6 p.m. and will include a public comment session. If you would like to attend the Open House, please contact the park at 970-529-4682 by Monday, September 12, 2016.
Interested parties who are not able to attend the open house may also submit comments to the park at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/MEVE66815. Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. Thursday, September 15, 2016.
Before including your address, telephone number, electronic mail address, or other personally identifying information in your comments, you should be aware that your entire comment (including your personally identifying information) may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us to withhold your personally identifiable information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
The proposed fee changes would start January 1, 2017. Fees are good for entrance to Mesa Verde National Park for up to 7 days. Entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years of age or holders of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, Senior, Access, Military, or Volunteer Passes or the Annual 4th Grade Pass. These passes may be obtained at the park. There will be no changes to commercial or tour fees at this time.
"We are committed to keeping the park affordable, but we also want to provide visitors with the best possible experience," said Mesa Verde National Park Superintendent Cliff Spencer. "The money from entrance fees is used to improve visitor facilities and amenities. The revised fees will help us offset increased costs for construction and rehabilitation that keep these facilities in good condition."
Entrance fees have previously allowed for purchasing and installing water bottle filling stations and drinking fountains; providing additional visitor educational opportunities at Wetherill Mesa; construction of new restrooms; and stabilization work at Spruce Tree House and Cliff Palace cliff dwellings. Additional revenue raised by a fee increase would help with the upcoming rehabilitation of the Morefield Amphitheater, additional stabilization work at archaeological sites throughout the park, maintaining and updating infrastructure, and continue to provide additional visitor educational opportunities.
Mesa Verde National Park is a strong economic engine for the surrounding area. In 2015, more than 547,325 park visitors contributed $55.4 million to the local economy and supported 814 jobs related to tourism.
Following the Open House, feedback will determine how, or if, a fee increase would be implemented.