The Scotts Bluff National Monument is joining the ranks of National Park Service facilities that do not charge an entrance fee.
While the fee had already been waived this year for the Monument’s Centennial celebration, and due to renovation and expansion of the Visitor Center, an analysis indicated it would be prudent to eliminate the fee altogether.
Monument Superintendent Dan Morford explained the rationale to KNEB News, saying “We had our employees counting the money, accountability, all those things that come with the fees generated, and our cost of that collection was actually costing us more than the money we were getting here at the park. Those fees that we get, only a percentage came back to the park, a percentage then went to the National Park Service for the bigger picture.”
In addition, the Monument is no longer selling Park Service passes used for entrance at other parks that do charge a fee. Badlands National Park is the closest facility where such passes are accepted, and you can obtain the passes through the NPS website.
Morford tells us the move doesn’t change the monument’s status in the Park Service system at all, it’s just joining other parks, monuments and battlefields that do not charge a fee for entry. However, he does say that 100 percent of any donations made by visitors to the monument stay at the facility for programs and other needs.
Despite the change, the entrance booth will still be staffed to provide information to visitors and monitor for vehicles too large to safely pass through the tunnels headed to the summit. Morford says the entrance fee could return in the future, but that will depend on visitation numbers going forward.