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[pct-l] Kings/Sequoia User Fee


    NEWS RELEASE                                                           
     U.S. Department of the Interior
     National Park Service
     Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
     209/565-3341                           Three Rivers, California 93271  
     For Immediate                            Malinee Crapsey 209/565-3131
        The reservation season for wilderness permits begins March 1, 1998. 
     This year Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks will begin charging 
     a non-refundable $10 fee for reservations.  The fee applies only to 
     reservations for wilderness permits, not to the permits themselves.  
     The reservation system offers visitors the opportunity to plan a 
     wilderness trip in advance and prearrange a firmly committed entry 
     date during the busy summer season, when permits for the more popular 
     trails are sometimes not available. 
        This fee is being collected as part of the Recreation Fee 
     Demonstration Program authorized by Congress in 1996.  The increased 
     costs of providing a quality reservation system for wilderness permits 
     while continuing to meet the number of public requests for information 
     have created a funding challenge.  Revenue from this program will 
     enable these services to continue.
        Approximately 80% of the money received will remain within the park 
     to support the reservation, information, and education services 
     provided by the Wilderness Office.  Funds will also be used to address 
     a backlog of wilderness-related projects that are not currently 
        As usual, reservations for 1998 wilderness permits may be made 
     beginning March 1 for all trailheads within Sequoia and Kings Canyon 
     National Parks.  They must be made at least 21 days in advance, and 
     apply only to trips between May 17 and the last week of September.  
     Outside that period all permits are first-come, first-served.  
     Currently approximately 2/3 of each trailhead quota is available for 
     advanced reservations; the remainder of the permits are first-come, 
        Reservations may only be made by mail or fax, using check, money 
     order, or major credit card.  Mail reservation requests no earlier 
     than March 1 to:  Wilderness Permit Reservations, HCR 89 Box 60, Three 
     Rivers, CA 93271.  Starting March 1, requests may be faxed to 
     209/565-4239.  Include your preferred trailhead with entry and exit 
     dates, giving second choices if possible.  Also add your method of 
     travel (foot or horse), number of people in the group (maximum is 15), 
     and number of stock (maximum 20). 
        Itinerary changes involving different trailheads may be made up to 
     21 days in advance of the trip's start date, if space is available at 
     another trailhead.  The same is true of increases in party size if the 
     reservation quota for the trailhead is not full.  Changes in number of 
     nights and reductions in party size may be made at any time.
        To receive a free copy of Backcountry Basics, a wilderness 
     trip-planning guide, contact the Wilderness Office, Sequoia and Kings 
     Canyon National Parks, Three Rivers, CA 93271, or call (209)565-3341 
     (then press 1) for further information.  Wilderness information is 
     also available on the park's website:  www.nps.gov/seki.
        Park concession operators will be required to obtain a reservation 
     through the Wilderness Office before beginning their trips.  All other 
     commercial users beginning a wilderness trip from a trailhead within 
     Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks will also be required to make 
     a reservation through the Wilderness Office.  Those commercial users 
     operating under an Incidental Business Permit will go through the 
     reservation system and be assessed the $10 fee per reservation (trips 
     beginning outside the park do not require this).
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