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Fee hike proposed for Hawaii’s national parks

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The National Park Service is proposing a Tri-Park Pass fee increase from $30 to $50 for Hawaii parks, starting May 1. Meanwhile, it welcomes public input online or snail mail.

The annual Tri-Park Pass offers visitors unlimited entry to Hawaii Volcanoes and Haleakala National Parks and Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. The NPS says the proposed fee increase would ensure the Hawaii parks have the same pricing structure as other national parks with similar visitor amenities.

Public comments are welcome until March 2. The public can submit comments online or via snail mail, in writing, to Superintendent, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, P.O. Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718. Comment cards are also available at Kilauea Visitor Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The NPS reminds the public that the entire comment, including identifying personal information such as an address, phone number email address may be made publicly available at any time.

The current NPS fee program began in 1997 and allows parks to retain 80 percent of monies collected, while the remaining 20 percent has gone into a fund to support park units where fees are not charged, which include six of nine national parks in Hawaii.

In 2017, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park sold 13,413 Tri-Park Passes and collected about $6.8 million in fee revenue.

Recent projects funded by fees include wheelchair-accessibility improvements at Mauna Loa Lookout; a new summit eruption viewing area at Jaggar Museum; the replacement of the lighting system in Thurston Lava Tube; a new exhibit to protect and share ancient Hawaiian footprints preserved in the Kau Desert; and the restoration of the 1932 Administration Building (Ohia Wing) into a cultural museum.

Entrance fees also fund ongoing projects to protect Hawaiian plants and animals, improve trails, provide visitor safety, and much more.

Children under 16 years old and holders of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Senior, Access, or Military passes are not charged entrance fees.

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