Shenandoah National Park Proposed Fee Rates – IMPORTANT FOR ALL BUSINESSES TO RESPOND
Did you know 17 national parks in the United States could be raising their entrance fees and that Shenandoah National Park is on that list? If approved by the National Park Service, visitors to our region’s only national park would see their entrance fee go from $25 to $70. This could have a significant economic impact, locally. Our friends at the Shenandoah National Park Trust have kept us informed of all that’s being proposed and if you, too, would like to know more, Susan Sherman, Executive Director for the SNPT, is the go-to person. Thanks, Susan! You may also provide comments on the proposed increase. The public comment period is October 24 – November 23, 2017 at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?documentID=83652 or you can mail comments to National Park Service, 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346, Washington, DC 20240. The Chamber has issued a formal comment on behalf of all Greene County Businesses as below, but we would encourage each business and household to also submit your comments before the November 23 deadline.
The Greene County Chamber of Commerce on behalf of its Board, Members and all businesses in Greene County is strongly opposed to the proposed rate increase for the daily entrance fee. We, in Greene County, are very proud of our rural roots and beautiful setting at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains as the main conduit to the Swift Run Gap entrance of Shenandoah National Park. It is a perfect setting and opportunity for entrepreneurs to set up locally owned food, lodging, retail, agri-tourism and other small businesses. More than 95% of the businesses in Greene County have less than 10 full time employees, so the County’s economy is almost solely small business based. In addition to providing services to the local community, the tourism industry is absolutely vital to the business model of all businesses in Greene County, either directly or indirectly. We are very concerned that the proposed fee increase is significant enough to cause tourists and day visitors from Washington D.C., Richmond, and Norfolk areas to bypass Greene completely when planning their visits to Central Virginia. This would be a huge detriment to our wonderful, locally owned businesses, our community who rely on those businesses for jobs and services, and to the County who relies on the tax revenue generated by those businesses and their sales. We have already begun to hear from our members, friends, and families that the proposed increase is large enough to stop them from visiting the Park so we are also concerned that the proposed increase will actually decrease visitation at the Park and its revenues. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of all input that you receive on this very important topic.