Park seeks input on proposed Tri-Park Pass fee increase

JANICE WEI/National Park Service Hawaii Volcanoes National Park facilities maintenance crew members Alvin Asato, left, and Nick Satkofski install new energy-efficient amber lighting in the Thurston Lava Tube, one of many projects funded by entrance fee revenue.

The public is invited to comment on a proposed fee increase from $30 to $50 for the Tri-Park Pass, an annual pass that allows visitors unlimited entry to the three fee-charging national parks in Hawaii: Hawaii Volcanoes and Haleakala National parks and Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park.

The proposed Tri-Park Pass fee increase would start May 1 and ensure the Hawaii parks have the same pricing structure as other national parks with similar visitor amenities.

The comment period ends March 2. The public can submit comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/havo. Select the Proposed Tri-Park Pass Fee Increase for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park link. Then click on the link to the left “Open for Comment,” and click on the document name. You can then download the document. You also can comment from the same screen using the link near the top, “Comment on Document.” The comment link is only valid during the comment period.

The public can also submit comments in writing, addressed to: Superintendent, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, P.O. Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718

Comment cards also are available from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week at Kilauea Visitor Center.

The current National Park Service fee program began in 1997 and allows parks to retain 80 percent of monies collected. The remaining 20 percent has gone into a fund to support park units where fees are not charged (six of the nine national park units in Hawaii do not charge entrance fees).

In 2017, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park collected $6.78 million in fee revenue and sold 13,413 Tri-Park Passes. 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 Ka‘u Desert; and the restoration of the 1932 Administration Building (‘Ohi‘a 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.

Entrance fees are not charged to children ages 15 and younger, or holders of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Senior, Access or Military passes. These passes are available at the park or online.