SANDY HOOK: PROPOSED FEE HIKE RETURNS

The per-car fee would jump to $20, from $15, under the proposed hike. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Four years after a planned entry fee increase was scrapped, Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook will try again.

Under a proposed fee hike announced Wednesday, visitors would pay $20 per day per vehicle, or $100 per season, starting in the summer of 2021.

That’s a 33-percent increase from the present rates of $15 and $75, respectively. Oversized vehicles – those longer than 20 feet – would pay $50 per day or $200 per season.

Revenue from the increase “will help improve our visitor facilities and services,”  Gateway Superintendent Jen Nersesian said in the announcement.

Visitors with senior or access passes would be charged half-price for parking, as they are currently, according to the announcement.

Non-beach services at Gateway, such as access to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse and the historic Fort Hancock post area at Sandy Hook, would remain free.

The hike would be the fifth since parking fees were established in 1983. The last one was in 2012.

A 2016 attempt to boost the fees was postponed at least until 2019 “based on feedback” from the public, the agency said at the time.

For the latest proposal, a “public engagement period” is open until October 16.   Comments may be submitted online at gateway_feedback@nps.gov.

The Gateway National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service, comprises 27,000 acres at Sandy Hook and in Jamaica Bay and Staten Island, New York.