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Pallone Voices Opposition to Sandy Hook Fee Increase at National Park Service Open House

August 31, 2016
Press Release

Long Branch, NJ – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) attended an open house held by the National Park Service (NPS) and voiced opposition to a proposal to increase camping and parking fees at Sandy Hook. The open house was announced after Pallone wrote NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis requesting that NPS hold a public hearing on the fee increases and provide information on the fee differences between Sandy Hook and other parks. Public engagement events were also held on August 12 and August 20.

“I am opposed to the proposed fee increase, which would dramatically increase the fees from 2011 levels, at which time it cost $10 to park a car at Sandy Hook,” said Pallone. “The currently proposed increase would be an additional financial burden to the individuals and families who enjoy visiting Sandy Hook, and could potentially damage the local economy, which relies in part on tourism. We should be looking at ways to encourage more visitors to the parks, in turn helping the surrounding economies. This proposal to yet again increase park fees moves us in the opposite direction, and should be withdrawn.”

In his letter to Director Jarvis, Congressman Pallone also requested a meeting with NPS to learn how the revenues from the increased fees will be used, and if these new revenues would be used exclusively to maintain and improve facilities at Sandy Hook. For most vehicles, beach parking is currently $15 per day or $75 per season. For oversized vehicles (more than 20 feet), the charge is $30 per day or $150 per season. The new proposal would place fees at $20 per day and $100 per season, with $50 per day and $200 a season for oversized cars. This would mark the second fee increase at the park in five years.

In 2012, Pallone successfully fought efforts to increase parking fees per vehicle from $10 to $20, and a season pass increase from $50 to $100. NPS compromised and cut the proposed fees by half, which is what the parking fees are today.

Text of Congressman Pallone’s Statement at the open house can be found below:

Statement of Representative Frank Pallone (NJ-06)

on  the Proposed Fee Increases at Sandy Hook

August 31, 2016

            I want to thank the National Parks Service (NPS) for holding this public hearing on the proposed rate increases at Sandy Hook. It is extremely important that New Jersey residents and others who enjoy visiting Sandy Hook have the opportunity to offer their views on this proposed increase. Allowing interested individuals and families to voice their concerns here, and at the other two public engagement sessions held earlier this summer, are important steps towards ensuring public input is considered.

            I am opposed to the proposed fee increase, which would dramatically increase the fees from 2011 levels, at which time it cost $10 to park a car at Sandy Hook. The currently proposed increase would be an additional financial burden to the individuals and families who enjoy visiting Sandy Hook, and could potentially damage the local economy, which relies in part on tourism. We should be looking at ways to encourage more visitors to the parks, in turn helping the surrounding economies. This proposal to yet again increase park fees moves us in the opposite direction, and should be withdrawn.

            In addition to requesting that NPS engage with the public on the fee proposal, I have also requested that NPS provide me with statistical data related to Sandy Hook, specifically visitor counts and revenue data, and that NPS explain how the revenues from the fee increases would be used, and if those revenues would be used in Sandy Hook. I look forward to NPS providing me that information soon and to meeting with NPS leadership next month.

            Again, I thank NPS for holding these sessions, and I hope that we can all work together to ensure that Sandy Hook remains an affordable and accessible to working families.

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