Capitol Reef National Park seeks fee hikes for Fruita, group campsites

Capitol Reef weather, Memorial Day weekend

(Dave Cawley, KSL NewsRadio, File)



TORREY, Wayne County — Capitol Reef National Park officials are seeking approval for a plan that would raise the cost of nightly fees at its Fruita and group campground sites.

The plan, which was announced Monday, would raise the nightly campsite rates at the Fruita campground by as much as $5, while the nightly group campsite rate would be raised by $25.

The current rates are $10 per night for Fruita campground with a lifetime pass, $20 for the Fruita campground without a pass and $100 for the group campsite. If approved, the new rates would be $12.50, $25 and $125, respectively.

All other fees at the park would not change. The new rates wouldn't go into effect until the start of 2022, if finalized. The park last raised camping fees in 2015, which is when the nightly fee at the Fruita campground jumped from $10 to $20.

Capitol Reef's Fruita campground has 71 campsites, while the group site has a capacity of 40. Both operate on a reservation system for the spring, summer and up to Oct. 31, and work on a first-come, first-serve basis during the late fall and winter months.

Park officials say the new fees "would bring the park in line" with other parks that offer similar services and experiences as the campgrounds at Capitol Reef National Park.

They also pointed out that the money from all fees goes toward repairs and maintenance of facilities, as well as other park improvements, amenities and visitor programs. For instance, fees have been used to plant new trees at the park and to maintain trails.

National Park Service data shows 981,038 people visited the southern Utah park in 2020, which was down from previous years due to COVID-19. It snapped a streak of four straight years of at least 1 million visitors.

Preliminary 2021 data shows that 327,730 people have visited the park so far in 2021, which includes the most visitors the park has ever reported in January, February, March and April. It puts the park on the path to surpass its record 1.23 million visitors set in 2018.

Public comment on the proposal can be mailed to Capitol Reef National Park / Attn: Fee Proposal / HC 70, Box 15 / Torrey, UT 84775 or emailed to care_fees@nps.gov.

People have until June 9 to submit comments on the plan.

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