On June 1, entrance fees at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will increase, the last phase of a three-year incremental plan to meet national standards for parks with similar visitor amenities.
The 2017 per-vehicle fee will change from $20 to $25 and the pass is valid for seven days. The per-person fee (the rate bicyclists and pedestrians pay) will increase from $10 to $12, and the motorcycle fee will increase to $20.
The popular annual Tri-Park Pass will increase from $25 to $30 in 2017. The annual Tri-Park Pass is available to all visitors and allows unlimited entry for one year to three national parks: Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, and Haleakalā National Park.
Recreational entrance fees are not charged to holders of the Tri-Park Pass, America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Lands (“Interagency”) Pass, Senior, Access, Every Kid in a Park, Volunteer, or Military passes. These passes may be obtained at the park, or online. In addition, visitors less than 16 years old are not charged entrance fees.
Fee increases for the park’s backcountry and front-country campsites were implemented in October 2016. There is a $10 per night charge for the front-country campground at Kulanaokuaiki, up to seven consecutive nights; and a $10 per permit charge for backcountry campgrounds like Nāpau, ‘Āpua Point, and Halapē, up to three consecutive nights. Availability is on a first-come basis, not a reservation system. The camping permit fees are similar to other public camping fees statewide.
In addition, entrance fees will increase for commercial tour companies on June 1. Road-based tour vans carrying one to six passengers pay a $25 base fee and starting June 1, will pay a $12 per-person rate to enter the park. The commercial tour per-person rate will remain at $12 through 2021. The base fee will not change. Non-road-based tour companies, i.e. hiking tour companies that are on trails more than touring the park by vehicle, don’t pay a base rate but their per-person entrance fees will increase under the schedule.
The current National Park Service (NPS) fee program began in 1997 and allows parks to retain 80 percent of monies collected. Projects funded by entrance fees enhance the visitor experience and safety at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and include ongoing trail maintenance, road and parking lot striping, cabin repairs, hike guides, restrooms, picnic tables, and more. The transformation of the 1932 Administration Building (‘Ōhi‘a Wing) into a cultural museum that visitors will soon enjoy is also a fee-funded project. Entrance fees also protect the Hawaiian ecosystem by funding fencing projects that prevent non-native ungulates like pigs and goats from devouring rare native plants.
An NPS report shows that 1,887,580 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2016 spent $159,195,500 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,917 jobs on island, and had a cumulative benefit to the local community of $199,923,400.