Posted 3 months ago
By John Axtell
The National Park Service holds the second of 3 open house sessions on proposals to raise cave tour and camping fees at Wind Cave National Park this afternoon from 4-6 pm at the Hot Springs Library. It’s a drop-in format with no formal presentation.
The proposal would raise tour fees $3 for the Garden of Eden, Fairgrounds, Natural Entrance, and Candlelight tours…making all but the Garden of Eden tour $12. It would be $10. The Wild Cave tour would go up $2 to $25.
Fees for the Elk Mountain Campground would increase from $12 to $18 per site and from $20 to $40 per site for groups. Wind Cave Chief of Interpretation Tom Farrell says budget problems that nearly forced the closure of the campground for the year led to the proposal to increase rates.
Farrell says once the decision was make to look at the campground fees, reviewing the cave tour fees was the logical next step. In both cases, the proposed new fees bring them closer to those charged by private campgrounds and caves in the Black Hills. Farrell says the proposed amount of the new tour fees also reflect a survey of visitors a few years back.
The last of the three public information meetings will be tomorrow in Custer at the Black Hills National Forest Headquarters, also from 4-6:00.
The NPS is also taking written comments on the proposed fee hikes on line at the agency’s website www.parkplanning.nps.gov.