Through a recent cost-recovery evaluation, Grand Teton conducted a comprehensive review of the financial aspects of its backcountry camping and special park use permit systems and determined that the park has not recovered the actual costs of operation for several years. The annual revenue under the current permits systems does not fully cover the operational costs of managing these programs. Cost-recovery includes all expenses incurred to process a permit application, monitor a permitted activity, and perform site restoration, when necessary.
In addition, Grand Teton will use an online process for making backcountry camping reservations through Recreation.gov, managed by Reserve America. Transition to Recreation.gov will allow users to plan their trip and receive immediate confirmation, and better facilitate management of the park’s backcountry reservations. Advanced reservation requests will be accepted from January 8 through May 15, and updated cost-recovery rates for all backcountry camping permits will be $25, with an additional $10 fee for advanced reservations.
The park’s charges for special use permits have not been updated since 2002. Increased oversight and management of special use permits—combined with an increase in the number of applications reviewed and permits issued—resulted in the need to conduct a cost-recovery evaluation of this rate structure as well. Approximately 250–300 special park use applications are received annually, all of which require review. Applications for permits include weddings, commercial filming, special events, scattering of ashes and First Amendment requests; and most of the applications result in the issuance of a permit, and the need for monitoring of the permitted activity.
The adjusted special park use charges for 2014 are: $100 for weddings, $175 for events, $275 for commercial filming less than 6 months, $325 for commercial filming 6–12 months, and no charge for scattering ashes or First Amendment requests.
Application fees cover the costs incurred for processing the permit, as well as for permit review to ensure the information supplied is sufficient to form a decision for issuance. It is a one-time, non-refundable amount submitted by the applicant with his/her completed application. If the application is approved, the permitee may be responsible for additional cost-recovery charges associated with monitoring the activity and for site restoration, if necessary.
In the future, all cost-recovery charges may be re-evaluated annually and adjusted, when necessary.