Soon it will cost more to go to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. In January the entrance fee will go from $10 to $15, and the annual entrance pass will increase from $20 to $30. Camping fees will also increase.
Merrith Baughman, park ranger and chief of interpretation and visitor services, says the National Park Service wants more consistent fees across the country.
"We were asked to look at increasing our fees to $20 for the park entrance fee and $40 for the annual park entrance fee," Baughman says, "and we thought doubling the fees was too much at that time."
The last time fees were increased was about eight years ago.
Baughman says park officials got what was mostly supportive community feedback before they decided to increase rates. The money from increased rates will go directly to projects that have direct visitor benefits and deferred projects.
"As [with] most National Parks, we have projects that are listed as deferred maintenance," she says. "They’re things we’re not able to do right now because we do not have the funds to do them."
The park has had a lot of visitors this year --just under 1.4 million so far-- and Baughman says with more visitors comes more upkeep.