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Picnic fee increase proposed in District of Columbia

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Fee increases for picnic reservations in national parks in the District of Columbia are being considered. The National Park Service (NPS) announced on Monday, Dec. 16 that it is considering the first fee increase for group picnics in more than 20 years. “The NPS proposal would bring the fee in line with the price for similar group picnic areas in the Washington metropolitan area and would provide options for full-day and half-day rentals,” the agency explains.

The increases would apply in Rock Creek and Fort DuPont parks.

NPS proposes to phase in the increases starting next summer, when fees would rise to $25 for half a day. In 2015, it would rise to $45 and 2016 to $65. NPS pledges to use added the fee revenue to improve the picnic areas.

NPS also said it plans to move the reservation process to www.recreation.gov starting March 1. Since 1949, the District of Columbia Dept. of Parks & Recreation handled the reservations but got sick of doing it.

NPS didn't give much advance notice but has scheduled two events to discuss the proposed increases and new process. The first takes place tonight, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 6:30-8:30 pm at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center, 5200 Glover Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20015. The second occurs tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 6:30-8:30 pm, at 3600 F St. SE, Washington, DC 20019, at Minnesota Av.

NPS is taking public comments on the proposals until Jan. 10. For details, see http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectId=49652.

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