Hugging the Lake Superior shore for a resplendent 42 miles, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is one of Michigan’s most precious gems. There are waterfalls to explore, trails to trek, and incredible vistas in nearly any direction. The area welcomed a record 1.2 million visitors in 2020. Naturally that raised some questions about care and safety. Consequently, an entrance fee is now being required in order to help preserve the area for current and future generations to enjoy.
Last year, the public was invited to review and comment on a proposal. It addressed adding the entrance fee, as well as increased fees for camping and lighthouse tours. Public comments, which were collected via a park website, were generally positive. Reactions were especially positive to the idea of using the funds to enhance the area.
“The new fee will provide much-needed funding for park improvements,” National Lakeshore Superintendent David Horne said. “We were very thankful for the support we received during the public comment period.”
Plans for Using New Funds
Basic park operations are funded by direct appropriations from Congress. However, the recreation use fees collected by the park are used to support ongoing maintenance of park facilities and new projects. Examples include maintaining and improving trails, campground facilities, visitor centers, monitoring park resources, and developing the area for future public use. They may also be used to fund seasonal work positions.
Maintaining and enhancing the lakeshore is a tall order. The park contains 63 front-country campsites, 14 backcountry camping areas, more than a dozen historic structures, and 100 miles of trails. Providing access to those assets also means maintaining roads, parking lots, restrooms, water systems, bridges, and 86 park buildings. The new entrance fee will be phased in over a three-year period.
Phase 1 Effective March 1, 2022
Per person walk, bicycle, or boat-in (good for 7 continuous days): $5.00
Seven-day motorcycle pass: $10.00
Seven-day vehicle pass: $10.00
Pictured Rocks Annual Pass (good for 12 months): $20.00
Phase 2 Effective January 1, 2023
Per person walk, bicycle, or boat-in (good for 7 continuous days): $10.00
Seven-day motorcycle pass: $15.00
Seven-day vehicle pass: $20.00
Pictured Rocks Annual Pass (good for 12 months): $30.00
Phase 3 Effective January 1, 2024
Per person walk, bicycle, or boat-in (good for 7 continuous days): $15.00
Seven-day motorcycle pass: $20.00
Seven-day vehicle pass: $25.00
Pictured Rocks Annual Pass (good for 12 months): $45.00
A vehicle pass covers entrance fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle. Children aged 15 or under are admitted free.
Commercial Tour Fee Effective January 1, 2023
Sedan (1-6 Persons): $25.00 + Per Person Rate
Van (7-15 Persons): $40.00
Mini-Bus (16-25 Persons): $40.00
Motor Coach (26 Persons and up): $100.00
In addition, campground fees increased from $20 to $25 per night per site at Little Beaver Lake, Twelvemile Beach, and Hurricane River Campgrounds back in January. Au Sable Lighthouse tours will now be available for $5 per person.
Access to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore may no longer be free, but it remains and invaluable experience. That’s why it tops our list of 10 places in Michigan everyone should visit at least once.