Mammoth Cave National Park proposes future fee increase

MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky. – Mammoth Cave National Park wants public comments on a proposed increase in cave tour and camping rates which would take effect in 2021.

Information on the fee increase is available for view and comment on the park’s Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website from Monday Sept. 22.

At least 80 percent of the fees collected at Mammoth Cave are used to fund projects that address deferred maintenance needs, enhance visitor programs and services, protect resources, and improve and rehabilitate visitor facilities. The remaining 20 percent helps support projects in the 310 national park units that do not charge entrance fees, like nearby Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park in Hodgenville, Ky.

“Mammoth Cave has utilized it’s fee program to focus on projects to improve the visitor experience by funding work on trails both inside and outside of Wondering Woods Cave, as a part of the upcoming multi-million-dollar project to fix the roof of the main building of the Lodge at Mammoth Cave, and to fund the hiring of cave guides to work during our busy summer season,” said Superintendent Barclay Trimble. “The funds we collect in the park are essential to continue our investment in services and improvements that are necessary to serve the hundreds of thousands of visitors we receive each year.”

Recreational fees are collected in the park under the 2004 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Expanded amenity fee (campground, tours, day use, etc.) increases require annual comparability studies and are determined by comparing the cost of Mammoth Cave tours and campsites with the cost of privately operated businesses of similar duration and visitor experience. The park keeps fees in line with private operators and must not over or under charge for tours and visitor amenities.

Comments may be submitted through the PEPC website, which is the preferred method, but will also be accepted by U.S. mail addressed to “Mammoth Cave National Park, Proposed Fee Increase, P. O. Box 7, Mammoth Cave, Ky. 42259.

All mail-in comments must be postmarked by Sept. 22. Anonymous comments and comments submitted by e-mail will not be accepted. Bulk comments in any format submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.