Canoeing Yellowstone Lake

Canoeists paddle in the southeast arm of Yellowstone Lake toward a rainbow in 2014. Boat usage climbed 10% in Yellowstone in 2020.

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Fees for fishing and boating permits in Yellowstone National Park are more than doubling, the Park Service announced on Wednesday.

A three-day angling permit will rise from $18 to $40 and a nonmotorized seven day boating permit is climbing from $5 to $20. The nonmotorized boating fee hasn't been raised since 1993, while the last increase for fishing fees was in 2012.

Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a press release that the fee increases will help offset the cost of native fish restoration and aquatic invasive species prevention.

"We continue to make substantial progress in our native fish restoration efforts in Yellowstone Lake and many other areas of the park," Sholly said. "Efforts to restore native fish in Yellowstone Lake remain one of our highest conservation priorities. Our continued success will be largely dependent on a permanent and reliable revenue stream that will not only help us continue our native fish restoration efforts, but also increase our capacity to detect and prevent new nonnative species from entering Yellowstone's waters."

Last year, the park identified major financial shortfalls in its ability to prevent and reduce AIS affecting fisheries across the park, especially in Yellowstone Lake, the Park Service said. Efforts to protect and recover native fish and restore the Yellowstone Lake ecosystem costs the park nearly $3 million annually. Scientists estimate another five years of sustained effort is needed at that investment level to achieve the park’s goals of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout restoration and AIS prevention, early detection and eradication.

Also under the change, anglers will be able to purchase fishing permits online via Recreation.gov for the upcoming season in addition to buying them at in-park stores and surrounding communities beginning this spring.

The other fishing fee increases are: A seven day permit will rise from $25 to $55; and a season-long permit will climb from $40 to $75.

The new fees were determined by taking the average of resident and nonresident fishing permit fees from Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. The Recreation.gov fee is also included.

For boaters, a nonmotorized season-long permit will increase from $10 to $30; a motorized seven-day permit will jump from $10 to $40 and for the season will be adjusted from $20 to $60. A portion of each boating fee increase includes an aquatic invasive species inspection fee — $10 for nonmotorized boats and $20 for motor boats.

The new fees are comparable to those of state and other national park permits, the Park Service said. Boaters can obtain a permit and aquatic invasive species inspection only in-person at various locations in the park. Permits are not available online.

The fee increases come as the number of boats on Yellowstone Lake increased nearly 10% in 2020.

Take a quick ride through America's first national park, Yellowstone.

This article originally ran on billingsgazette.com.

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