For the first time since 2002 and after a careful study of its fee structure, officials say, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has raised day-use gate charges.
Minimum fees are:
- $5, up from $4, per vehicle.
- $2, up from $1, per adult walking or biking into the park. Children under 16 aren’t charged a fee.
- $20 per bus or commercial vehicle. Previously, the charge was $4 per vehicle up to 4 people, plus $1 per person over age 12.
The corps, which operates 16 day-use parks on Lake Lanier, determined the fee hikes “are needed to ensure (corps) fees remain comparable and fair to those charged by other local providers for similar facilities and services,” officials said.
“Some locations may also see a change in camping fees and the fee for a special use permit, which covers events, facilities and activities.”
An annual day-use pass good for all corps parks is $40, up from $30.
For the first time since passage of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004, corps parks are selling and accepting America the Beautiful passes.
The $80 annual pass, good for two people, can be used at more than 2,000 recreation sites operated by the corps, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies.
Proceeds are returned to parks for maintenance, repair and improvements, officials said.
The pass “really benefits us here, more than most projects, because we’re right in the middle of Forest Service land and the National Park Service below us,” said Chris Arthur, corps chief ranger at Lanier.
“It would be different if we were a corps lake out in the middle of nowhere. Here, (park users) have access from the Blue Ridge Mountains down through Atlanta.”
For frequent visitors to parks of any kind, “we encourage people to get the annual (corps or America the Beautiful) pass,” Arthur said.