Entrance fees at Big Island national parks to increase

  • JANICE WEI/National Park Service photo Hikers experience the restored Kilauea Iki Trail near trail marker 4 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The public is reminded that national parks throughout the United States, including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park on the Big Island, that charge an entrance fee will modify those fees to provide additional funding for infrastructure and maintenance needs to enhance the visitor experience.

Effective Jan. 1, 2020, entrance fees at HVNP will be $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle and $15 per pedestrian or bicyclist. At Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau, the entrance fees will be $20 per vehicle, $15 per motorcycle and $10 per pedestrian or bicyclist.

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The receipt allows entry for seven days.

The Tri Park Pass, an annual pass that allows visitors unlimited entry to the three fee-charging national parks in Hawaii also will increase to $55 on Jan. 1.

Revenue from entrance fees remains in the National Park Service and helps ensure a quality experience for all who visit.

In response to public comments about a fee proposal released by NPS in October 2017, the changes reflect a modest increase for all fee-charging parks rather than the higher peak-season fees initially proposed for 17 highly visited national parks on the mainland.

National parks have experienced record-breaking visitation, with more than 1.5 billion visitors in the past five years.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park had 1.1 million visitors in 2018, who spent $94.1 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,040 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $123 million. Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park had 462,972 visitors in 2018.

Throughout the country, the combination of an aging infrastructure and increased visitation put a strain on park roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms and other visitor services and led to an $11.9 billion deferred maintenance backlog nationwide.

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The additional revenue from entrance fees at HVNP will include the rehabilitation of the Ohia Wing into a cultural museum and archives, a new park orientation film, new exhibits that interpret the 2018 eruption of Kilauea Volcano and trail improvements. The additional funds will include projects at Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau such as upgrading audio visual equipment for the amphitheater, developing new exhibits and interpretive programs, supporting the annual two-day cultural festival hosted by the park and more.

The parks are two of the 117 National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee; the other 300-plus national parks will remain free to enter.

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