Grand Teton National Park to Raise Certain Visitor Costs in 2023 to Support Conservation

by Jon D. B.
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A National Park Service sign welcomes visitors to the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

Next year, Grand Teton National Park (GRTE) will increase a select few costs for visitors as the park ramps up their fight against aquatic invasive species.

Currently, it is $35.00 to enter the park by car. This “vehicle pass” is good for a full 7 days for each private, non-commercial vehicle to enter the park -and includes everyone inside the vehicle. Thankfully, this isn’t set to change in 2023. Instead, it’s boaters that will be hit with an increase in fees.

Come February of 2023, Grand Teton National Park will increase the cost of an annual park boat permit to $25 for non-motorized boats. The park will also increase the annual boat permit cost for motorized boats to $75. But boaters can rest assured that their increased payment goes towards a worthy cause.

As the park states in Tuesday’s media release, “Boat permit fees help offset the costs associated with waterway patrols and priority aquatic invasive species (AIS) inspections and education.”

Those aquatic invasive species are a “growing risk” for national park resources, NPS adds, and could cripple Grand Teton’s waterways without prevention measurements being taken.

‘If aquatic invasive species were to be introduced into park waters, it could have catastrophic effects on the ecosystem’

AIS organisms cause “tremendous harm to the environment, economy, and public health,” NPS continues. And in the United States alone, there are more than 250 known non-native aquatic species that are outcompeting native species. Each is “changing, and degrading the experience of park visitors, requiring intensified maintenance, and monitoring and altering natural ecological processes.”

Enter the increase in Grand Teton fees.

“If aquatic invasive species were to be introduced into park waters, it could have catastrophic effects on the ecosystem,” Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Chip Jenkins states. “Once established, AIS can become nearly impossible to eliminate.”

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Grand Teton National Park Rangers check compliance of visitor’s boat. (NPS Photo/J. Bonney)

To beat AIS to the punch, Jenkins says “Prevention is the key.” And GRTE is enlisting public help by increasing boat feels. In doing so, “The park can provide better education to boaters and increase AIS inspections and waterway patrols to help combat this encroaching threat,” Jenkins concludes.

With how popular an activity boating is in Grand Teton (whether floating the Snake River, paddling scenic lakes or power boating on Jackson Lake), education on AIS is crucial.

How to Help Prevent Aquatic Invasive Species from Entering Grand Teton National Park

To help prevent aquatic invasive species’ introduction into park waters yourself, GRTE asks the following:

  • Never dump unwanted aquarium pets or live bait in waterways
  • Before launching your watercraft, make sure that you:
    • Clean and dry your boating, wading, and fishing gear 
    • Have your watercraft (including paddle boards) checked at all inspections stations in the park
    • Purchase a Wyoming State Aquatic Invasive Species decal online, or from a variety of local vendors (paddle boards are exempt)
    • Purchase a GRTE boat permit sticker in the park during summer operations (May-October). Do so at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center and Colter Bay Visitor Center permit desks
    • Can also purchase online through Recreation.gov beginning February 1, 2023

Online mail-order systems allow visitors to have their permit and educational information mailed to them, if preferred. And remember, using any boat in GRTE requires a permit. This includes motorboats, fishing boats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes.

To learn more, see our Top 10 Things to Know About Grand Teton National Park next.

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