By STEVEN VIERA
At an open house event held on Aug. 31 at the Sandy Hook Chapel, Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-Monmouth, Middlesex) objected to a potential increase of parking and camping fees at Sandy Hook National Park.
“I am opposed to the proposed fee increase, which would dramatically increase the fees from 2011 levels, at which time it cost $10 to park a car at Sandy Hook,” he said. “The currently proposed increase would be an additional financial burden to the individuals and families who enjoy visiting Sandy Hook and could potentially damage the local economy, which relies in part on tourism.”
Pallone wrote a letter to National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan B. Jarvis requesting a public hearing to discuss the fee increase, including how the new revenues would be used and whether or not they would exclusively benefit Sandy Hook, as well as differences between fees at Sandy Hook and other parks.
In what would be the second fee increase at Sandy Hook within five years, the parking fee for average cars would jump from $15 to $20 per day and from $75 to $100 for the entire season. Fees for oversized cars — those larger than 20 feet — would rise from $30 to $50 per day and from $150 to $200 per season.
This is Pallone’s second fight against fee increases at Sandy Hook since 2012, when he successfully opposed an increase from $10 to $20 per car and $50 to $100 per season; NPS cut the proposed fees by half, leading to the established parking rates today.