February 1, 2024 - 9:16 pm
It’s been a month now since Lake Mead National Recreation Area joined other National Parks by going exclusively to payless entry.
The park now only accepts electronic card payments for entrance, lake use, and campground fees, a release late last year stated. Effective Jan. 1, entrance stations continued selling passes but no longer accept cash for payment.
This fee system aligns Lake Mead with 29 other National Park Service locations such as Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Olympic, Death Valley and Petrified Forest parks, among others, that had already made this transition. It will also align this park with several local and state destinations in the area that are moving, or have already moved, to cashless systems.
“We have seen little change to our visitor entry operations since we went cashless, other than the lines going a bit faster than before,” John Haynes, public affairs officer for LMNRA, said earlier this week.
Advance campground reservations, as well as first-come, first-served sites, are available online only through recreation.gov. Concession operations at marinas, hotels, and stores will still accept cash or electronic card payments.
The Park Service stated in a press release that the new system was adopted as a best practice that will be safer, more efficient, will cut down on visitor entry times, and will be more cost effective. The transition will eliminate about $90,000 per year in armored car transport costs, in addition to staff-hours saved in transporting and counting money. This system will also be a safer, more secure means of collecting fees, reducing potential opportunities for theft or robberies, the release said.
“We have also received very little feedback from visitors who come to the park,” Haynes said. “We went out of our way to let people know this change was coming, so people were prepared for the change to happen when the new year started.”