Assateague Entrance Fees Rise

       Heading to the seashore is going to cost you a few more sand dollars.

         The National Park Service plans to increase entrance fees across the board at all 112 parks that charge fees. Effective January 1, Assateague Island National Seashore bumps to a seven-day $25 per car or $10 per person fee. The annual pass climbs to $45.

         The fee includes entrance to the National Seashore and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia.

         The $5 increase will be used for “infrastructure and maintenance needs to enhance the visitor experience,” the Park Service notes on its website. 

         The increase is based on public comments on the Park Service proposal of October 2017 that suggested either raising peak-season fees at the 17 most-visited parks or making modest increases at all parks that charge entrance fees. It is the second rate increase since 2015.

         The increase does not affect camping or Over-sand Vehicle permits.

         Three hundred and seven national parks are free to all. In addition, families of fourth-grade students can still download their free pass in the Every Kid Outdoors program. Active duty uniformed military can obtain free annual passes. Access Passes offer free lifetime entrance for people with permanent disabilities. The annual Senior Pass remains $20.

         Assateague has had an entrance fee since 1971. At least 80 percent of that revenue stays in the Assateague Island National Seashore system.

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