Chincoteague NWR Proposes Entrance Fee Hikes for 2020 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Chincoteague NWR Proposes Entrance Fee Hikes for 2020

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Chincoteague NWR (Photo: WBOC) Chincoteague NWR (Photo: WBOC)

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va.- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public input on a potential increase in entrance fees in 2020 for Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. 

The proposed fee schedule for the refuge will be open for public comment until Dec. 27, 2019. 

The current refuge fees have been in place since 2017. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia and

 

Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland share management responsibilities of recreational lands in Virginia.  Therefore, CNWR and ASIS have a reciprocal agreement, which allows visitors to use passes issued by both agencies at either site.

The fee increases proposed will provide some consistency in fees charged by both agencies, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

The proposed fees are as follows:

Daily Pass

Weekly Pass

Annual Pass

Beach Parking

Current

Proposed

Current

Proposed

Current

Proposed

Current

Proposed

Not Available

$10

$20

$25

$40

$45

$15

$20

Officials also propose to reinstate the Daily Pass at $10 per non-commercial vehicle.

The annual Beach Parking permit is an expanded amenity recreation fee, which permits expanded access in combination with the Federal Duck Stamp.  This fee allows visitors holding a Federal Duck Stamp to access the recreational beach areas at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge or Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland.  The Beach Parking permit will increase from $15 to $20. The combined costs equal the $45 price for a Refuge Annual Pass.

Eighty percent of all money collected from the passes with the exception of the Federal Duck Stamp remains at the refuge to be used for visitor services and facility improvements. Officials said entrance fees support a wide range of projects that improve refuge conditions and visitor experience including; repairs on the historic Assateague Lighthouse, annual maintenance of roads, trails, beach parking lots, visitor health and safety services, fee collection operations; and providing ranger programs and special events.  

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is a strong economic engine for the surrounding area, officials said. The refuge receives 1.3 million visitors annually who contribute to the local economy.  The refuge generates $155 in local economic activity for every $1 Congress appropriates to run it (Banking on Nature 2010 report).

Refuge Manager Nancy Finley encourages everyone to provide feedback on the proposed fee changes in 2020, which will help the refuge gain a better prospective to make decisions on how to fine tune the proposed changes.  Comments may be emailed to FW5RW_CNWR@fws.gov, or write to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, 8231 Beach Road, Chincoteague, VA  23336.

 

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