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News

Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments will Change Entrance Fee to Address Infrastructure Needs & Improve Visitor Experience

FLAGSTAFF, AZ -The National Park Service (NPS) recently announced Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments will modify their entrance fees to provide additional funding for infrastructure and maintenance needs to enhance the visitor experience. Effective Friday, June 1, 2018, the entrance fees to the monuments will be $25 per vehicle or $15 per motorcycle, this fee is valid for seven days at both Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki. An annual park pass will cost $45, this annual pass covers entrance fees for Sunset Crater Volcano, Wupatki and Walnut Canyon National Monuments. All of the money received from entrance fees remains with the National Park Service with at least 80 percent of the revenue going to Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monument.

Revenue from entrance fees remains in the National Park Service and helps ensure a quality experience for all who visit. Here at Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments, 100 percent of entrance fees stay in the monuments and are devoted to spending that supports the visitor.

In response to public comments on a fee proposal released in October 2017, there will be a modest increase for all entrance fee-charging parks, rather than the higher peak-season fees initially proposed only for 17 highly-visited national parks.

“Entrance fees are used to provide a quality experience for all visitors at Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments,” said Superintendent Kayci Cook Collins. “Recent projects funded with visitor entrance fees include construction of the new Lava’s Edge Trail at Sunset Crater Volcano, and rehabilitation of the Wukoki Pueblo Trail to make it more accessible to people with mobility issues.”

Upcoming fee-funded projects at the monuments include:[

Sunset Crater Volcano
Visitor Center Siding Renewal
Visitor Center Electrical Rehab
Road Shoulder Repairs

Wupatki
Citadel Trail Rehab
Maintaining Front Country Archeological Sites for Visitor Safety and Enjoyment

National parks have experienced record breaking visitation, with more than 1.5 billion visitors in the last five years. Throughout the country, the combination of an aging infrastructure and increased visitation has put a strain on park roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms, and other visitor services and led to a $11.6 billion deferred maintenance backlog nationwide.

The additional revenue from entrance fees at Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments will be used to :

Sunset Crater Volcano
Replace curbing at the Lava Flow Trail
Maintain trails for visitor safety

Wupatki
Repair exhibits
Restore native plant communities

Entrance fees collected by the National Park Service totaled $199.9 million in Fiscal Year 2016.  The NPS estimates that once fully implemented, the new fee structure will increase annual entrance fee revenue by about $60 million. 

Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments have had an entrance fee since the late 1980s. The current rate of $20 per vehicle or $10 per motorcycle has been in effect since 2015. The monuments are two of 117 National Park Service sites that charges an entrance fee, the other 300 national parks will remain free to enter.

The price of the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass and Lifetime Senior Pass will remain $80. 

The National Park Service has a standardized entrance fee structure, composed of four groups based on park size and type. Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments are two of 42 sites in group two. Some parks not yet aligned with the other parks in their category will raise their fees incrementally and fully incorporate the new entrance fee schedule by January 1, 2020 . Walnut Canyon National Monument will increase from the current $10 per person (16 years and older), to $15 per person (16 years and older) on January 1, 2019.

The complete fee schedule will change according to the following:

Sunset Crater Volcano/Wupatki National Monuments

Per Vehicle Current: $20 / June 1, 2018: $25 / Park Specific Annual Pass: $40

Per Motorcycle Current: $15 / June 1, 2018: $20 / Park Specific Annual Pass: $45

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees who care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at http://www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.

Flagstaff Area National Monuments Implement Stage II Fire Restrictions

FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA – Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater Volcano, and Wupatki National Monuments will join the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests in implementing Stage II Fire Restrictions beginning Friday, May 4, 2018.

Stage II fire restrictions within the Flagstaff National Monuments prohibits:

1.        Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or stove fire in the monuments.

2.       Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle.

The following activities are always prohibited within the Flagstaff Area National Monuments:

1.        Using explosives;

2.       Discharging or using fireworks and pyrotechnic devices;

3.       Operating chainsaws;

4.       Discharging firearms, air rifles, or gas guns;

5.       Possessing or using motor vehicles off roads.

The National Park Service reminds everyone to be fire aware and use extra care when visiting your public lands. The goal of these fire restrictions is to protect public health by reducing the number of preventable, human-caused wildfires.

Know Before You Go! The public can obtain additional fire information from these sources:

·         Arizona Fire Restrictions - https://firerestrictions.us/az/

·         Arizona Interagency Wildfire Prevention and Information Website - http://wildlandfire.az.gov/

·         Fire Restrictions on Public Lands in Arizona and New Mexico - 1-877-864-6985

·         Coconino National Forest - https://www.fs.usda.gov/coconino

·         Kaibab National Forest - https://www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab

Walnut Canyon NM is located 10 miles east of downtown Flagstaff via I-40 and can be reached at (928) 526-3367 or on the web at www.nps.gov/waca. Sunset Crater Volcano NM is located six miles north of Flagstaff via Hwy 89 and can be reached at (928) 526-0502 or on the web at www.nps.gov/sucr. Wupatki NM is 26 miles north of Flagstaff via Hwy 89 and can be reached at (928) 679-2365 or on the web at www.nps.gov/wupa.

www.nps.gov

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.govon Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.

Walnut Canyon National Monument Proposes Fee Increase

FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA –Flagstaff Area National Monuments is proposing a change to its entrance fee rate for Walnut Canyon National Monument to align with the National Park Service rate schedule.  The new proposed fee will increase the cost of per person entry at Walnut Canyon to $10 for a 7-day pass. Currently the cost of per person entry is $8 for a 7-day pass. The proposed timeline for increasing the Walnut Canyon entrance fee is January 2018.  Entrance fee increases are not being proposed for Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments, as those fees are already consistent with the National Park Service fee rate schedule.

Entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years of age or holders of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Annual, Senior, Access, Military, or Volunteer Passes. These passes may be obtained at the monuments.

“We are committed to keeping Walnut Canyon affordable but we also want to provide visitors with the best possible experience,” said Flagstaff Area National Monuments Superintendent Kayci Cook Collins.  “We use the money from entrance fees to maintain, repair and improve our facilities, enhance visitor services and protect and preserve park resources.”

The additional revenue from the fee increase would be used to restore and rehabilitate monument facilities, enhance visitor services, and increase resource protection. Projects that have been started and/or completed with fee revenue over the past two years include: habitat restoration on the canyon rim near historic Ranger Cabin, preservation treatments to improve visitor safety at archeological sites, and repair and replacement of trail exhibits.  Revenue generated from the proposed fee increase will be used to make repairs to Walnut Canyon’s trails (retaining walls and trail surfaces) and the visitor center, and to conduct preservation treatments on additional archeological sites visited by the public.

Walnut Canyon is a strong economic engine for the Flagstaff area.  In 2016, more than 152,000 visitors to Walnut Canyon spent $8.9 million in communities near the monuments. This spending supported 130 jobs in the local area related to tourism.

The public is encouraged to comment about Walnut Canyon’s proposed new entrance fee. Submit comments electronically via the National Park Service’s Planning Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/WACA_fees.

Comments will also be accepted in writing (hand-delivery, by mail, or fax).  To submit written comments, mail or hand-deliver your comments to Chief of Interpretation and Education, Attn:  Proposal to Increase Fee at Walnut Canyon, 6400 N. Hwy 89, Flagstaff, AZ 86004.  In addition, faxed comments will be accepted at (928) 526-4259.

Anonymous comments and comments submitted by e-mail will not be accepted.  Bulk comments in any format submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.  All public comments must be received by November 3, 2017.  This feedback will determine how, or if a fee increase would be implemented.

Flagstaff Area National Monuments Awarded International Dark Sky Park Designation

FLAGSTAFF, AZ –The National Park Service (NPS) and International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) are pleased to announce Flagstaff Area National Monuments – Sunset Crater Volcano, Walnut Canyon and Wupatki - have been designated as an International Dark Sky Park by the IDA. The monuments and their immediate environs produce little light pollution of their own, with minimal amounts from Walnut Canyon and Sunset Crater Volcano and almost no light pollution at Wupatki. The monuments are near Flagstaff, a city with a population of over 65,000 people. In 2001Flagstaff became the first International Dark Sky City and has progressive lighting codes that prevent unnecessary light pollution.  Earlier this year, the NPS nominated the monuments for dark sky park status to celebrate efforts to protect their dark skies and share them with the public.

“Today’s announcement of IDA Dark Sky Park status for Flagstaff Area National Monuments is an important step forward that ties dark skies preservation efforts in the City of Flagstaff to protected lands elsewhere on the Colorado Plateau,” IDA Executive Director J. Scott Feierabend explained. “It also reminds us not only that fine views of starry night skies can still be found practically on the city’s doorstep, but also that naturally dark nights are a key aspect of Northern Arizona’s historical and cultural heritage.”

“Each of the monuments offers a spectacular night sky that reflects the criteria for designation as a Dark Sky Park,” said Caleb Waters, Maintenance Mechanic Supervisor, who led the effort. Waters went on to say, “Achieving this designation was a collaborative process. The park staff worked with our regional and national offices to gather and interpret data, make lighting retrofits, and get the message out to visitors.” Using current research, addressing park lighting, and hosting astronomy events with community partners such as the City of Flagstaff, Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition and Lowell Observatory, the Flagstaff Area National Monuments achieved the International Dark Sky Park award. Click here for more information. 

Wupatki National Monument Announces Discovery Hikes
and Crack-in-Rock Schedules

National Park Service rangers will lead Discovery Hikes to backcountry pueblos at Wupatki National Monument each Saturday through March 16. Discovery Hikes allow visitors to see parts of the monument that are normally off-limits to the public. Rangers and volunteers guide hikers through areas showing off the park’s rich cultural, geological, plant and animal resources.

Discovery Hikes are free to the public, but space is limited to 12 people per hike to protect fragile pueblos, artifacts, and landscapes. Rangers strongly recommend making reservations, as hikes sometimes fill up weeks in advance. To reserve a space, please call the Wupatki Visitor Center at 928-679-2365. Please click here for more information.

Flagstaff Area National Monuments Receive Centennial Challenge Grant to Complete Trail Work FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA  

The National Park Service received a $10 million Congressional appropriate that was matched with $15.9 million from more than 90 partner organizations. The 106 projects, located at more than 100 parks in 31 states and the District of Columbia, are designed to improve visitor services, support outreach to new audiences, and leverage partnerships to reinvigorate national parks while forging connections with communities. From trail repairs to new wayside interpretive panels, road and bridge repairs and restoring the most photographed barn in America, the National Park Service announced $26 million for more than 100 initiatives that will help parks prepare for centennial visitors. Please click here for more information.

Wupatki Trail Crew - Hard at Work

National Park Foundation supports many projects that the federal budgets cannot with private funds. NPS has me documenting some of their 100+ approved grants. This project is in my back yard at Wupatki National Monument with their trail crew and the American Conservation Experience. They are rebuilding trails to improve the old trails but also add handicap access as well. Please see the video here: https://vimeo.com/141492289

Every Kid in a Park

The Flagstaff Area National Monuments are proud to participate in the Every Kid in a Park Program. Click here for more information.

Tourism to the Flagstaff Area National Monuments creates $28,485,700 in Economic Benefit

Report shows visitor spending supports 419 jobs in local economy

FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 507,917 visitors to the Flagstaff Area National Monuments – Sunset Crater Volcano, Walnut Canyon, Wupatki, in 2014 spent $28,485,700 in communities near the monuments. That spending supported 419 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $31,657,900.

“The Flagstaff Area National Monuments welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Kayci Cook Collins. “We are delighted to share the stories of these places and the experiences they provide. We also feature the monuments as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.  The report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally; 235,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.

According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.9 percent).

 To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm

 The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about national parks in Arizona and how the National Park Service works with Arizona communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go towww.nps.gov/ARIZONA.

www.nps.gov

 About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 406 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.govon Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.