NPS - National Park Service

10/14/2021 | Press release | Archived content

Ozark National Scenic Riverways seeks public input on proposed changes to recreation fees

News Release Date:
October 14, 2021

Contact:Dena Matteson, 573-323-4814

VAN BUREN, Mo. - Ozark National Scenic Riverways is seeking public comment from October 15 through November 30, 2021 on proposed changes to camping fees and cave tour fees for the Round Spring Cave. Fee revenue is used to enhance visitor experience, maintain and improve facilities and services in the park and ensure visitors can continue to use and enjoy these areas into the future.

The new camping rates would be in effect from April 15 to October 15 annually and would apply to back-country campsites and developed front-country campsites. The proposed rate increase would make park camping fees comparable with current rates of local privately-owned businesses. The increased rates would begin April 15, 2022.

Increased rates would apply to all back-country campgrounds. including those located at Big Tree, Grubb, Gooseneck, Bay Creek, Blue Spring, Rymers, Shawnee Creek, Two Rivers (backcountry site), Log Yard, Powder Mill, Sinking Creek, Cedar Grove, and Dee Murray. Additionally, camping fees would be established at the Jerktail, Broadfoot, and Clubhouse back-country camping areas. The campsites at Bachers and Baptizing Hole would be added to the fee structure at Blue Spring Campground. The current back-country camping fees have not been raised since 2008. A rate increase at the back-country campsites would help expand and enhance services for these areas. Rate adjustments would be implemented in the developed front-country campgrounds at Alley Spring, Big Spring, Two Rivers, Round Spring, and Pulltite.

The park would continue to provide free camping at primitive campsites which have minimal amenities. The campsites include Parker, Big Creek, Welch, Akers West, Banks, Lipps Hole, Boyd's Creek, Wide, Grassy, Bee Bluff, Twin Rocks, Sutton Creek, Martin Bluff, Martin Landing, Goose Bay, Roberts Field, Beal, Lost Man Ridge, Bluff View, Flat Rock, Buffington, Old Horse Camp, Roscoe, and Counts.

In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act which allows the Ozark National Scenic Riverways to keep approximately 96% of fees collected for operating and maintaining the park. This includes day-to-day costs for operating campgrounds, maintenance such as trash removal, and servicing restroom facilities, as well as longer-term improvements like upgrading restrooms and showers, constructing and maintaining trails, improving campgrounds, and providing programs for visitors.

"Under the current rate structure, the camping fees at Ozark Riverways are lower than local privately-owned campgrounds, and we do not want to undercut these local business owners," said Superintendent Jason Lott. "This rate change would enhance services to park campgrounds and be used for on-going improvements. Visitors today are seeking expanded amenities such as larger camping pads, full hook-ups, access to trails, and expanded trash service. Increasing fees would help us work toward fulfilling those expectations."

Round Spring Cave is open for ranger-led tours from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Ticket prices for the cave have remained the same for many years and are substantially lower than other tour caves in the region. Increased tour fees would help ensure tours of this spectacular resource can continue with essential equipment and educational materials.

Proposed fees April 15 to October 15 are as follows:

Type of Fee

Current Fee

Proposed Fee

Back-country campsite



Back-country cluster campsite

$15.00/ night


Back-country group campsite



Front-country non-electric campsite



Front-country electric campsite



Front-country cluster campsite



Front-country group campsite



Cave tour (adult)



Cave tour (child age 12 and under)



An off-season camping fee would be formally established for the park's front-country campgrounds, from October 16 to April 14 annually. The front-country campgrounds have minimal services available during that period, though water remains on at several locations with frost-proof plumbing and equipment. These campgrounds will have at least one restroom open that is heated and serviced regularly. Most locations will still have hot showers available.

Proposed fees October 16 to April 14 are as follows:

Type of Fee

Proposed Fee

Front-country non-electric campsite


Front-country electric campsite


Front-country group campsite


Chubb Hollow group campsite


Before implementing the proposed changes to camping and cave tour fees, the park is soliciting input from the public. The proposal will be open for public review and comment from October 15 to November 30, 2021, at . Select "Proposed Camping Fee Increases" from the list of projects and then "Open For Comment" to submit your feedback. Comments will also be accepted through the mail to:
Superintendent - Proposed Camping Fee Increases

Ozark National Scenic Riverways
P. O. Box 490
Van Buren, Missouri 63965

The National Park Service is committed to a policy of civic engagement and public input for any issues concerning Ozark National Scenic Riverways. For more information, phone (573) 323-4236 or visit the park's website at or our Facebook page for further updates.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves 134 miles of the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork rivers, the surrounding resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.

Learn more at Find us on Facebook @ozarkriverways and on Instagram @ozarkriverwaysnps.