Jewel Cave National Monument and Wind Cave National Park have received final approval to increase their fees for cave tours early next month. Wind Cave campground rates will also go up at that time.
The new fees at Jewel Cave are $16 on the Scenic and Lantern Tours for adults 16 and up, while the Discovery Tour will be $6 for adults and $3 for youth ages 6-15 and seniors 62 and older. The Wild Caving Tour, open only to adults, jumps from $31 to $45.
Adult fees for the Wind Cave Accessibility Tour go up a buck to $6 while the Natural Entrance, Fairgrounds and Candlelight Tours rise from $12 to $16. The Garden of Eden tour will be $14 and the cost to take the Wild Cave Tour jumps to $45 – a $20 increase.
Fees for the Elk Mountain Campground go up 33% from $18 per site to $24, with group sites increasing a modest $5 to $45.
Wind Cave Chief of Interpretation Tom Farrell says the National Park Service took public comment on the proposed increases at a series of public meetings this summer and online with the vast majority in favor of them.
Farrell thinks that’s because it’s been 7 years since the last increase and because of how the fees are used.
Farrell says one improvement the higher fees will help fund is the chance to buy tour tickets in advance online at www.recreation.gov
Farrell says the Wind Cave front desk staff is really looking forward to advance sales because they feel bad when they have to tell people all tours have been sold out.
Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on park websites at www.nps.gov/jeca and www.nps.gov/wica as well as on their Facebook and Instagram social media sites.