The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 4, 1997 · Page 90
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 90

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, May 4, 1997
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Page 90
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THE 'SAUNA NATIONAIL PARKS 4, 1997 The Cost of Parking By BETSY WADE The New York Times families planning to camp in the *most popular national parks this summer should be sure to catch up with a major change in reservation methods. hi January 1996, the phone reservation system used for 4,500 camp sites in the most popular National Park Service areas was given a wider window: It is now possible to reserve a site five months in advance instead of only eight weeks, or in the case of Yellowstone, a year in advance. The Park Service has also revised 93 fees in popular parks, most particularly entrance fees and interpretive-tour fees. Some of these changes came last November; others were announced March 12. Most will be in effect by May 23. Probably the biggest shock for frequent park visitors is the new $50 yearly fee for the Golden Eagle pass to all federal lands. The five-month camping reservation system, which opens up an entire month for reservations on the 15th of each month, means that reservations in 15 popular parks for June 15 to July 14 became available Feb. 15, and for July 15 to Aug. 14 became available on March 15. On April 15, reservations for Aug. 15 to Sept. 14 will become available. Yosemite is on the same cycle, but because of flooding, there was a delay in starting dates. While the weather and the rules allow camping in many areas after Sept. 15, or even year round, the start of school means that demand diminishes in September. Popular places go fast, led by the prime rim sites at the Grand Canyon. So those would-be campers should dial the phone — or mark the calendar — if they expect to reserve a site. The long-term trend shows increasing pressure on the national park system, although estimates of visits for last year showed a drop, probably because of government shut-downs caused by lack of a budget as well as fires and floods. The estimated total visits for 1996 to all areas administered by the National Park Service was 265.7 million; the 1995 number was 270 million and the 1983 total 207 million. The majority of the national park campgrounds still work on a first-come, first- served basis. It is the areas most heavily in demand that are on phone reservations. The areas available through the system operated by Destinet, a San Diego company, have expanded: Last year, 12 parks were on it; this year, 16. The additions are Everglades in Florida, Gulf Islands in Florida and Mississippi, Greenbelt in Greenbelt, Md., and Kat- mai in Alaska. Greenbelt accommodates campers in recreational vehicles or tents, and in addition to its own 1,100 woodland acres, is intended to provide inexpensive living space for families while plore Washington. The fee is $13 a: and the limit is 14 days in a caler year, 7 days in summer. From March 1 to Sept. 30, the Destinet phones are open Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Central time, and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. After Oct. 1, the hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. The main reservation number, 1-800365-2267, handles these camping areas: at Acadia in Maine, Blackwoods; at As- sateague Island National Seashore in Maryland, Oceanside drive-ins and tent walk-ins, Bayside; at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina, Ocracoke; at Death Valley in California, Furnace Creek; at Everglades, Flamingo and Long Pine-Key; at Gulf Islands, Fort Pickens; at Grand Canyon in Arizona, Mather on the South Rim and North Rim sites; at Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina, Smokemont, Elkmont and Cades Cove; at Greenbelt, all 174 sites; at Joshua Tree in California, Indian Cove and Black Rock; at Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Moraine Park and Glacier Basin; at Sequoia and Kings Canyon in California, Lodgepole; at Shenandoah in Virginia, Big Meadows; at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in California, Oak Bottom tent sites, sites on water and recreational vehicle sites. For Yosemite in California, the reservation number is 1-800-436-7275. Because of the floods in January, reservations in Yosemite, which has historically accounted for 40 percent of the reservations handled by phone, opened only in February. Campsites at Upper Pines for July 15 to Aug. 14 opened Feb. 15. Gary Styve, head of quality assurance for Destinet, said a handful of sites at Upper Pines might be open for reservations before July 14. At North Pines, reservations for May 15 to Aug. 14 opened March 15. Because of the floods, Upper River and Lower River will not be opened; they are being moved to less environmentally sensitive places in the Yosemite Valley, according the the National Park Service. At a 17th park, Yellowstone, in Wyoming, reservations are handled sepa- 125 th Anniversary • Shop for gifts, antiques and necessities • See Buffalo on the range nearby • museum in 1920s mansion • Relax in one of our 300 affordable motel rooms • Convention centers available • Annual events- Scottish Festival, art shows, parades, craft shows and more mcPhcRson CONVENTION A VISITORS BUREAU M(»b««*i. Hants 306 N. Main • McPherson, KS 67640 316-241-3340 • 800-324-8022 In the heart of central Kansas on 1-35 between Wichita and Salina at exit 60 rately under a contract with Amfac Resorts, which operates lodges in this and other parks. The number for the Yellowstone service is 307-344-7311; there is no toll-free number. The hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. mountain time. Camping in Yellowstone opened May 1 and ends Nov. 3. Reservations for the entire siRnmer af^Topen for these sites: IridgttBay, Canyon, Fishing Bridge ecreaiional vehicle area (hard-sided vehicles only), Grant Village and Madison. The fees are $14 a night, except for Fishing Bridge, where the fee is $25 a night. After May 2, reservations for all of next summer will be open, according to Jim McCaleb, Amfac's general manager at Yellowstone. All of these phone reservation systems work with credit cards. For dedicated national park visitors, the big news involves the Golden Eagle Passport issued jointly by the park service and the Department of Agriculture: On Jan. 2, this went to $50 a year from $25. This pass admits the holder and all passengers in a private vehicle to all federal lands where an entrance fee is charged. The Golden Access Passport for the blind and permanently disabled remains free. And the lifetime Golden Age Passport, available to citizens or permanent residents at least 62 years old, will remain at $10. PRUDENT TOURS June 10-15 Chicago $499 26-28 Branson Music Extravaganza $269 27-29 Texas Outdoor Drama $229 July 12-20 Black Hills/North Dakota/ Yellowstone $739 17-20 Cheyenne Rodeo/Rockies $309 19-25 Winnipeg/Minneapolis $519 24-28 Summer Mystery Tour $399 26-8/5 Great Lakes Circle $929 28-8/2 Dakota Discovery $489 31-8/2 Grandparents Tour Single $279 Double p.p... .$219 ChiWren 6-12 .... $149 August 9-25 Pacific Northwest $1,479 11-9/4 Alaska/Yukon $2,379 September 8-14 Scenic Colorado Railroads $679 9-14 Gospel Quartets $479 Call for Information 1-800-658-1734 108 N. Main, Hillsboro, KS 316-947-2353 21-29 Canyonlands $729 23-10/11 Nova Scotia $1,509 25-28 Mystery Tour $329 25-10/7 New England/Canadian Fall Foliage $949 26-10/4 Northwoods Fall Foliage $679 October 4-7 Mississippi Fall Foliage $409 9-12 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta $309 11-24 Historic East $999 13-16 Illinois Foliage & Pere Marquette Lodge $329 18-25 Fall in the Smokies $599 23-26 Branson Music Extravaganza $399 23-11/2 Florida in Fall $849 31-11/3 GermanTexas $289 November 7-10 Carl Hurley. $339 December 7 Christmas Tours Call for information spud MTIl Witt US! "Good Country Living Between Two Lakes Picturesque Lakes Beautiful Shady Central Park •Historical Museum •Challenging Golf Course •Tennis Courts & Swimming Pool •Historic Stone Buildings •Excellent Restaurants •Wide Variety of Businesses For lour information fait: Marion Chamber of Commerce 316-382-3425 Mon.-Hriday 10 a.m.- 4 p.in See the REAL Prairie Up Close & Personal Maxwell Wildlife Refuge Quieted Tr«m Tour* May thru October Experience the beauty and splendor of Buffalo, Elk, Deer, Bird Life, Wild Flowers in their natural surroundings on a 2,600 acre Kansas wildlife refuge. Sat. 9 am.-6 p.m. Sun. 2-6 p.m. Tours leave appro*, every Z hours. Tours by reservation anytime of year for groups or Individuals. Campfire meal optional for groups. MWCMt KVIHT9 Pralrl* Day* - June 7 & 8,9-4 Buffalo Tours, demonstrations, bluegrass, country & cowboy music and poetry. Traders tent - cowboy shoot, wildftower & bird Identification and much more. Buffalo burgers and concessions. Mountain Man Randazvou* Oct. 11&12, 9-4 p.m. For Info or reservation (316)62»-4455 Located alx mltoa north of Canton, KS

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