Congressman wants feds to scratch proposed parking fee hike at Sandy Hook

    Sandy Hook's Gunnison Beach. (Photo: 3twenty6 via Flickr Creative Commons)

    Sandy Hook's Gunnison Beach. (Photo: 3twenty6 via Flickr Creative Commons)

    A Jersey Shore congressman is requesting that the National Park Service withdraw its proposal to hike parking and camping fees at Sandy Hook.

    The daily vehicle rate would increase from $15 to $20, according to the National Park Service. The fee for seniors or those with access passes would remain the same.

    “I am requesting that the National Park Service and Gateway National Recreation Area withdraw its proposal to increase fees,” Rep. Frank Pallone Jr said in a release. “I believe the park service can find a way forward that doesn’t place the burden on New Jersey families and which keeps access to one of our state’s most prized assets affordable to everyone.”

    If approved, it would be the first parking fee increase at Sandy Hook since 2012 and the fifth since the establishment of fees in 1983. It also impacts Jacob Riis Park in Gateway National Recreation Area’s unit in New York City.

    In a release, the National Park Service says that the fee increase “is not a step the park takes lightly.”

    “This fee increase will help Gateway maintain the services that visitors expect and deserve: clean restroom and shower facilities and keeping visitors safe and resources protected. We are also able to use this money to do things like renovate the Ryan Visitor Center at Floyd Bennett Field and to add a web-cam to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse,” the release said.

    But Pallone said there must be a balance.

    “Sandy Hook is a treasure along the New Jersey shore that should remain affordable for anyone who wants to visit, regardless of his or her economic situation. I want to see the park continue to encourage tourism, create recreational opportunities and serve as an economic driver for the local economy,” he said in a release. “My concern is that these proposed fee increases will make it less likely that many in our community will be able to enjoy all Sandy Hook has to offer.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.