CARLSBAD – Sixteen years after the last increase from $5 to $6, Carlsbad Caverns National Park will raise its entrance fee beginning this summer to $10 per person (age 15 and up). In the past, all fees collected went into the General Treasury. In 1996 a “fee demonstration” program was established by Congress allowing one-third of all national parks, including Carlsbad Caverns, to retain up to 80 percent of the money collected. The remaining 20 percent is pooled for use by national parks that cannot collect entrance fees.
Superintendent John Benjamin said the $4 increase “is still quite a bargain for three full days of fun in a fabulous underground world. The feedback we get from visitors consistently is that they have been surprised that we don’t charge more for entry into this beautiful cavern.”
The fee demonstration funds are used for a variety of projects to improve visitor enjoyment, health and safety. The park has used fee money for important projects that were not covered by the park’s budget including the complete redesign of the visitor center, renovation of underground restrooms, replacement of the elevator motors and other equipment, educational exhibits in the visitor center and a new Carlsbad Caverns visitor orientation video.
“In addition,” Benjamin said, “The increase will pay for much-needed repairs to failing infrastructure. Many of the park’s buildings are very old, built in the 1930s and ‘40s, and are deteriorating and in desperate need of repair. The increase in fees will help the park fund these projects as well.”