Wind Cave National Park Proposes to Raise Fees
In accordance with the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004 and National Park Service policy,Wind Cave National Park is seeking comments on a proposal that would raise cave tour and camping fees beginning the spring of 2014. Fees for the Fairground, Natural Entrance, and Candlelight Tours would increase from $9 to $12 for adults. Garden of Eden fees would increase from $7 to $9, and Wild Cave Tour fees would increase from $23 to $25. Fees for the Elk Mountain Campground would increase from $12 to $18 per site for individuals and from $20 to $40 for groups. The park has not raised cave tour fees since 2005. With these new fees, the park would be more in line with what other caves in the Black Hills are charging."
There would be no change in the fee structure. For children up to 5 years of age, cave tours are free. People 6 to 16 years of age, along with holders of the Senior or Access Pass, are half price.
In the past, the park has been criticized by privately operated caves in the Black Hills because our fees were too low. We are comparable with nearby Jewel Cave National Monument's current fee rate, but they are also planning to raise fees in 2014. Wind Cave is the lowest priced show cave in the Black Hills as shown by the enclosed Black Hills Cave Tour Prices. There are five other show caves in the area and none of them charge less than $12 for a tour comparable to our $9 tours (our National Entrance, Candlelight, and Fairgrounds Tours). The table below shows a summary of the proposed new rates.
Last year the park spent $46,154 to operate the Elk Mountain Campground but it only generated $25,046 in fees. The park believes by increasing the price from $12 to $18 per site, not only will it bring our cost structure in line with National Forest Service campgrounds in the Black Hills offering similar amenities, but that it would make the campground nearly self-supporting, allowing the National Park Service to manage the campground without additional funding. Group camping would be raised from $20 to $40 per night. Enclosed is the listing of USFS campground information for the Black Hills.
For a listing of all fee rates, see attached document: Wind Cave National Park Fees.
People can attend one of three open houses being held in the area to solicit feedback. The first open house will be held Monday, September 23, in Rapid City at the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Outdoor Campus West at 4130 Adventure Trail. Tuesday, September 24, park officials will be at the Hot Springs Library at 2005 Library Drive. The last meeting will held in Custer the following night, Wednesday, September 25, at the Black Hills National Forest Supervisor's Office located at 1019 N. 5th Street. All meetings will be from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and have an open house format with no formal presentation.
Vidal Davila, Superintendent, 605-745-1129
Tom Farrell, Chief of Interpretation, 605-745-1130