HARRISON — Buffalo National River maintains numerous campgrounds throughout the park. They range from primitive with just vault toilets, no water and no designated sites to developed areas with electric and water hookups for RV camping. The park last raised camping fees in 2013 and will hold a public comment period about possible camping fee increases in 2019.
The park conducted a campground comparability study in the local area, and based upon the study proposes to increase camping fees at the following locations:
● Sites with water and electric at Buffalo Point Campground: from $22 to $30 a night for up to 6 people
● All sites at Tyler Bend Campground and walk-in tent sites at Buffalo Point Campground: from $16 to $20 a night for up to 6 people
● Primitive sites (without electricity or showers) at Steel Creek, Kyle’s Landing, Ozark, Carver, and Rush campgrounds: from $12 to $20 a night for up to 6 people (up to 4 stock animals at Steel Creek Horse Camp)
● No changes are proposed for reserving pavilions; those fees would remain $25 at Ozark and $50 at Tyler Bend and Buffalo Point
● The fee structure would be revised for group campsites at Buffalo Point and Tyler Bend: from $3 per person, per night to a flat rate of $50 per group per night (up to 25 people per site). This would represent an increase for some groups and a decrease for others, based on past use.
● Other campgrounds would continue to allow free camping where no amenities are provided: Erbie, Woolum, South Maumee and Spring Creek.
The park also proposes to allow some tent and horse campsites at Steel Creek Campground and walk-in tent and drive-in sites at Tyler Bend Campground to be reserved in advance on the Recreation.gov website. Reserving sites through the website allows visitors to pay by debit or credit card; those without reservations must pay by cash or check.
Buffalo National River provides a 50 percent discount on campsite fees for Interagency Senior and Access pass cardholders. To find out more about who qualifies for these cards, and how they may be obtained online visit store.usgs.gov or in person at Park Headquarters in Harrison, Steel Creek Ranger Station, Tyler Bend Visitor Center, or Buffalo Point Ranger Station.
Buffalo National River is a strong economic engine for the surrounding area. In 2017, more than 1.5 million visitors contributed $71.1 million to the local economy, and supported 911 jobs related to tourism. Raising campground fees would ensure that the park is not driving business away from other local providers. Funds from camping fees support efforts to maintain campgrounds and make future improvements to the park.
There are multiple ways to comment on the proposed fee increase. The park is taking comments electronically at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/buff2019fees. You can also pick up a paper comment form from Park Headquarters in Harrison, Steel Creek Ranger Station, Tyler Bend Visitor Center, or Buffalo Point Ranger Station or you can email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Following the public review period, which lasts until Sept. 5, 2018, the park will review all feedback, finalize the proposal, and determine how, or if, to implement the proposed changes.