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Joshua Tree National Park fees may increase next year

Joshua Tree National Park is proposing a fee increase to align with local pricing that could take effect on January 1, 2025.

In this new proposal, the Keys Ranch tour price would increase by $10 for general admission, that’s for visitors 12 and older, if approved. For seniors and access pass holders, the fee would rise from $5 to $10. 

In addition,  the proposal means campground fees could also increase between $10 to $20 depending on the location.

For example, the Belle campground fee would increase from $25 to $35, a ten-dollar increase. Another campground, the Indian Cove Group campground, would cost up to $20 more per night.

Some say they wouldn’t mind the small spike in prices. 

“I think it's warranted and they need all the help they can get to do maintenance and monitoring and protects the valuable resources that are located in the park,” said Jonathan, a tourist visiting the park.

“We've already spent on airfares, hotels, cars. So $10 coming into the park and having the natural wonder data for future generations and everyone else comes and sees insignificant,” said Julia Clayton, a tourist visiting the park.

But others say the increase could deter some visitors from coming to the park, especially campers who may come from lower-income backgrounds.

“Retirees or people just don't have all the money and want to camp will keep the camping fees the same? Because if you increase them $10 or up to $30 a night and you want to come here for five nights. That's a little steep. So a one-time charge. Not so bad, but additional charge every night. Yeah, that adds up,” said Lynn Desantis, a park visitor.

One local business owner said he understands price hikes may be necessary, but hopes if it’s passed the money is put to good use.

"The park has been successful in receiving some very large grants. I'm not really for increasing the price to use public lands unless there's some, you know, methodical philosophy behind it,” said Gerald Noonan, a local businessowner.

If the fee increases are passed, Noonan would like to see those funds help benefit both the park and businesses in the village area around it– which can struggle during the slow season. 

"We have a lot of challenges, infrastructure wise. I'd like to see public parking. I'd like to see electric charging stations and a place that has become very environmentally conscious with protected Joshua Trees. I'd like to see public trash receptacles. I'd like to see, you know, electric buses that carry passengers and campers into the park, maybe every hour on the hour,” Noonan said.

Noonan continued, “Public restrooms would be huge. You know, right now, the entire public, you know, invades my little restrooms. And I have to deal with all the ramifications of stocking paper and, you know, fixing plumbing and stuff like that, and we're just not built for it in the village area.” 

The National Park Service is seeking public input on these proposed changes.

Comments can be submitted on this site or in writing to Joshua Tree NP Revenue and Fee Manager, Nathan Rhyne, at the address provided below. Phone and email comments will not be accepted.

The 30-day public comment period will be June 1, 2024, until June 30, 2024.

Public comments can be made at the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment website or written submission through the mail to: 

Attn: Nathan Rhyne   
Revenue and Fee Manager  
Joshua Tree National Park  
74485 National Park Drive  
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277  

The Federal Lands and Recreation Enhancement Act authorizes the National Park Service to collect entrance and amenity fees, which are then used to enhance visitor experiences. The act also mandates that these fees be comparable to those charged by nearby public and private service providers.

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Tori King

Laurilie Jackson


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