NPS mulls 67 percent hike to 3-park annual pass
A proposed 67 percent fee increase from $30 to $50 for annual passes for three Hawaii national parks, including Haleakala National Park, will be reviewed during a Feb. 12 public hearing in Pukalani, according to an announcement.
The event is scheduled for 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, in the building next to the swimming pool. Public comments also will be taken at park visitor centers, online or via email or postal mail from until March 2.
The tri-park annual pass permits unlimited entry into Haleakala and Hawaii Volcanoes national parks, and Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. If approved, the fee increase to $50 would begin May 1.
The increase conforms to a nationwide pricing structure for other national parks with similar levels of visitation, park officials said.
The tri-park fee increase is the last admission fee hike to be considered. Earlier, Haleakala National Park entrance fees were increased incrementally each year from June 1, 2015, through 2017. Now, the per-person fee for Haleakala is $12.
Motorcycle and vehicle entrance fees also were raised incrementally to $20 and $25, respectively, last year.
“The revenue from entrance fees is used to improve visitor facilities, including visitor centers and restrooms; restore recreational trails; sustain our native wildlife species and landscapes; and provide important visitor services such as brochures, exhibits, web-based museum exhibits and cultural demonstrations,” said park Superintendent Natalie Gates. “The entrance fee program also funds school programs and transportation costs to the park, community outreach and the park’s internship program.”
Current projects paid for with entrance fees include:
• Repairs and improvements to the Haleakala Headquarters Visitor Center’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning; hot water system; and outdoor lighting, $213,983.
• Work to remove loose rocks, vegetation and debris that pose landslide threats at the Pools of Oheo in Kipahulu, $98,634.
• Transportation costs for public school field trips, $50,000 annually.
• Replacement of two sets of automatic sliding doors at the summit visitor center, $47,271.
Past examples of work fully funded with entrance fees include:
• Restoring park trails, $500,000 annually.
• Stabilization of silversword populations, $60,000 annually.
• Headquarters visitor center entrance improvements, $56,038, in 2016.
The current National Park Service fee program began in 1997 and allows parks to retain 80 percent of money collected. The remaining 20 percent supports park areas where fees are not charged. Before to 1997, all national park fees were deposited in the general treasury.
Since 1997, fee revenues have funded $42 million in Haleakala National Park projects.
In 2016, 1.3 million park visitors spent an estimated $81.1 million in Maui communities near the national parks, supporting more than 950 jobs, park officials said.
Public comments on the proposed tri-park annual pass fee increases can be made at visitor centers, online or via postal mail or email from through March 2. Online comments can be posted at the NPS Planning, Environmental and Public Comment website at parkplanning.nps.gov/HawaiiFee. Comments can be postal mailed to Haleakala NP, Fee Increase, Attention: Greg Page, P.O. Box 369, Makawao 96768; or emailed to HALE_Superintendent@nps.gov with the subject line “Comments re: fee increase.”
Faxed and bulk comments will not be accepted. Written comments, including personal identifying information, may be publicly available.