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Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park proposes fee increases for 2015

October 14, 2014

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is seeking public feedback on possible entrance fee increases starting in 2015. Entrance fees for recreational use have not increased since 1997.

“While we are committed to keeping the park affordable for everyone, we are also dedicated to providing the safest and most enjoyable experience for our visitors and community. Entrance fees are vital to support the numerous services and amenities that make the visitor experience possible,” said Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

For instance, a project underway now to replace the wooden boardwalk at the Pu‘u Loa Petroglyphs is paid for by entrance fees. Ongoing trail maintenance, cabin repairs, hike pamphlets, restrooms, and picnic tables are all funded with fee money. The transformation of the 1932 Administration Building (‘Ōhi‘a Wing) into a cultural museum that visitors will soon enjoy is also a fees-funded project.

Pu‘u Loa Petroglyphs boardwalk

The boardwalk at Pu‘u Loa Petroglyphs is currently being replaced for visitor safety and enjoyment, a fees-funded project. NPS Photo/David Boyle

Eighty percent of all entrance fees stay within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Orlando said. The money also protects the Hawaiian ecosystem by funding fencing projects that prevent non-native pests like pigs and goats from devouring rare native plants.  Since 2006, fee revenues have funded $24,072,928 in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park projects.

Entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years old, or holders of the Tri-Park, America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Senior, Access, or Military passes. These passes may be obtained at the park, or online.

Under the proposed schedule, entrance fees would rise incrementally each year between 2015 and 2017. Fees for vehicles entering Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park would increase 50 percent in 2015 (from $10 in 2014 to $15), and in 2016, fees would be $20 per vehicle. In 2017, entrance fees would rise to $25 per vehicle and remain at $25 through 2021.

The costs for the annual Tri-Park Pass would stay the same until 2017, when it would increase from $25 to $50. The annual Tri-Park Pass allows unlimited entry to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Haleakalā National Park, and Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park for one year. Haleakalā National Park is proposing the same fee increase schedule.

Table of Proposed Recreational Fee Increases (in dollars) for Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park:

Annual Pass Per-Vehicle Fee

(good for 7 days)

 Per-Person Fee

(walk-ins & bicycles)

Motorcycle Rate
Current 2014 25 10 5 5
2015 25 15 8 10
2016 25 20 10 15
2017 50 25 12 20
2018 50 25 12 20
2019 50 25 12 20
2020 50 25 12 20
2021 50 25 12 20

Under the proposed fee schedule, entrance fees would also increase for commercial tour companies. Currently, road-based tour vans carrying one to six passengers pay a $25 base fee and $5 per person to enter the park. The per-person entrance rates will increase to $8 in 2015; $10 in 2016; and $12 in 2017, through 2021. The base fee will not change. Non-road-based tour companies, i.e. hiking tour companies that are on trails more than they are touring the park by vehicle, don’t pay a base rate but their per-person fees would increase under the proposed schedule.

In addition, the park will soon charge $10 per permit for all overnight backcountry and front-country camping, with a maximum of three consecutive nights at one spot. Currently, camping is free, except at Nāmakanipaio Campground, which is managed by Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC. The new camping permit fees are similar to other public camping fees statewide.

The public is invited to submit comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/havo. Select the Proposed Entrance Fee Increases 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 can also 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, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, P.O. Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718. The deadline for comments is Dec. 15, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. Comment cards will also be provided at the Kīlauea Visitor Center seven days a week, from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information with your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

If the fee increases go into effect, visitors in 2015 will still enjoy a great value while visiting Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For $15 per vehicle (an increase of 50 percent from 2014), the seven-day pass averages $2.14/day for a family of four.  By comparison, catching the latest blockbuster in a movie theatre typically runs a family of four about $45.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is a significant driver to the island’s economy. A 2013 National Park Service report shows that 1,583,209 park visitors spent $124,937,400 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,476 local jobs.

Devastation Trail

Maintenance of the park’s 150-plus miles of hiking trails, including Devastation Trail (pictured), is funded by entrance fees. NPS Photo/David Boyle.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 14, 2014 3:56 pm

    good job the park deserve it cause their service is EXCELLENT

  2. October 14, 2014 3:58 pm

    good they deserve it cause the hawaii vol nat park give EXCELLENT SERVICE TO EVERYONE ALOHA JOE

  3. October 14, 2014 5:52 pm

    your welcome cause thats the truth i drove tours there 47 years ask cindy orlando she a good good girl very smart

  4. JEANA JONES permalink
    October 14, 2014 9:15 pm

    Mahalo, not a bad increase at all. Willing to pay it considering CofC may be our only way in and out of Puna for awhile.

  5. October 15, 2014 7:16 am

    hey a 100% increase in annual passes is a bit much, especially locals who have to tour friends and family who want to see the parks, be a bit kinder to residents please

  6. Anonymous permalink
    October 15, 2014 7:52 am

    $10 is a great deal for most folks for a day or week of using park facilities. I think most of our visitors would gladly pay double that for the excellent services and opportunities. However I know of local families that opt out of using the park because of the fees and go to a Co or State facility. Once you add the cost of gas to come up here it can be a deterrent. I know some high impact parks have adopted a separate residents fee schedule. Given the demographics of our local population this acknowledgement may send a respectful message to our community encouraging participation.

  7. October 17, 2014 11:19 am

    As if you had the legal authority to be on sacred ground, charging to see what is not yours. Shame on you, it’s time for the US to get out of the Kingdom of Hawai”i

  8. May 4, 2015 12:07 pm

    tom surbrook shut up thats gods kingdom

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