Money from DC-area park fee increase will go toward local improvement projects

When entrance fees go up on Jan. 1 at national parks, money collected locally will go toward all sorts of D.C.-area projects — even improving pavement on the George Washington Parkway.

“Part of milling and paving on part of George Washington Memorial Parkway was paid for through entrance fees,” National Park Service spokesperson Katie Liming said. “The George Washington Memorial Parkway is so much more than just a road.”

Because at least 80% of entrance fees is kept and spent where it is collected, that means money from people visiting Great Falls Park that is within the GW Parkway can go to projects at several locations, including the Netherlands Carillon, Iwo Jima and Jones Point Park in Virginia and Glen Echo Park in Maryland.

Money collected to enter the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park has helped pay for the restoration of restrooms along the canal and repair water locks in Northwest D.C.

“So, if you’ve been down to Georgetown lately and checked out locks 3 and 4, they are working and they’re beautiful; and those projects were helped paid for by your entrance fees,” Liming said.

Around the region, the bump in fees will affect Antietam National Battlefield, Harpers Ferry, Prince William Forest Park and entrances to Great Falls Park on both sides of the Potomac River. Current fees at these local parks are $15 dollars per car, $7 per person and $30 for an annual pass. On Jan. 1, 2020, fees will go up to $20, $10 and $35 respectively.

There are five days in 2020 when there are no fees needed to go to the park: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 20), first day of National Park Week (April 18), National Park Service Birthday (Aug. 25), National Public Lands Day (Sept. 26) and Veterans Day (Nov. 11).

Find the full list of fee changes at National Parks across the nation on the Park Service’s website.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up