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National monuments ponder fee increases

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

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Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot national monuments will hold three public meetings in November to discuss possible fee increases in 2015. The current park entrance fees have been in place since 2006.

The first meeting will be held at Montezuma Castle's headquarters at 527 S. Main Street in Camp Verde, on Wednesday, Nov. 12, from 3 to 7 p.m.

The second meeting will be at Tuzigoot, located at 25 W. Tuzigoot Road in Clarkdale, on Thursday, Nov. 13, from 3 to 7 p.m.

A third meeting will be held at the board room of the Beaver Creek School, 4810 E. Beaver Creek Road in Rimrock, Saturday, Nov. 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Another public meeting hosted by a number of national parks in Arizona will be held in Phoenix, but that date is yet to be determined.

Entrance fees are not charged to people under 16 years of age or holders of the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Senior, Access or Military passes. These passes may be obtained at the parks.

Following the public meetings, feedback will determine how, or if, a fee increase would be implemented.

"We have kept our entrance fees to a minimum, however, with an increase we will be able to provide our visitors with additional activities and improved facilities," Superintendent Dorothy FireCloud said.

Part of the fee money collected at Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot has been used to upgrade the electrical system and stabilize and reinforce the bookstore floor at Montezuma Castle's visitor center. The interpretive signs along the monuments' trails were also modernized using fee money.

Additional revenue raised by a fee increase will be used to upgrade the picnic area at Montezuma Well, making it more accessible to visitors with disabilities, as well as building a picnic shelter. Future plans also include building a ranger talk area at Tuzigoot with a shade shelter to provide greater comfort for our visitors.

Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot are strong economic engines for the surrounding area.

In 2012, more than 552,693 park visitors contributed $29 million to the local economy and supported 421 jobs related to tourism.

Those unable to attend any of these meetings may post comments at the Park Planning National Park Service website.

Copyright 2014 The Camp Verde Journal, Camp Verde, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: November 5, 2014

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