Entry Fee Is Imposed at Katmai Wildlife Area

Reed Travel Features

KING SALMON -- Visitors to the pristine wildlife area at the mouth of the Brooks River in Katmai National Park and Preserve to which entry previously had been free of charge must pay for the privilege from now on, under new National Park Service (NPS) rules.

Day visitors, guests at the Brooks Lodge and campers all now are required to pay an entrance fee of $10 per day, per person.

Campers also must pay $10 a night to reserve a tent site, which covers a party of up to six people.

At the same time, day use visitation has been restricted to 85 people a day in July and 50 a day in September.

These have been the most heavily trafficked months, leading to concerns for the welfare of the huge brown bear population in the park.

Day visitors now must make reservations in advance to enter the park.

The money raised will go to help finance a $9.3 million redevelopment of the Brooks River region.

The program calls for the current lodge structure and campground on the north bank of the river to be removed and rebuilt on a spot on the other side, about three-quarters of a mile down river.

The NPS said it believes that increasing use of the existing rivermouth facilities for day visitation alone has more than tripled in the last decade to almost 6,500 people a year and has begun to affect the bear population adversely.

According to the NPS, moving the concentration of humans to the proposed site would make it easier to monitor the movements of the bears, allow them to be viewed more easily and decrease the number of potentially life-threatening confrontations between them and human visitors.

Reservations for day visits or campsites can be made through Destinet, the NPS booking system, at (800) 365-2267.

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