Effective for the 2015 summer season, the cost of obtaining a permit for backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain National Park will increase from $20 to $26 per trip. This administrative permit fee, established in 1995 and last increased to $20 in 2004, is necessary to recover the administrative costs associated with managing the program, including costs of a computerized permit and reservation system.
Different from an entrance fee or fee for camping in a developed campground, the backcountry permit is based on cost recovery and all funds are applied directly to the costs of administering the program. This past October, the park proposed a change in its current recreational use fees for entrance and developed campgrounds. A public comment period followed and the proposal is still under review. A decision on those recreational use fees is expected late winter or early spring.
According to Superintendent Vaughn Baker, "Rocky Mountain National Park retains one hundred percent of the administrative fees charged for backcountry camping permits. In addition to providing the opportunity to reserve and secure campsites in advance, funds recovered through the permit fee allow for staff to provide trip planning advice and information for a safe and enjoyable trip into the wilderness. Requirements for food storage necessary to protect bears and other wildlife, mountain weather, hazards, and Leave No Trace ethics are among the information received during the permitting process. Fees that we charge enable us to provide these services."