Kenai Recreation Fees | US Fish and Wildlife Service

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from neighboring communities and around the world visit and enjoy Alaska’s Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, from fishing or boating the famous Kenai River, hiking through the majestic landscape, or creating… Memories with family and friends while camping or staying. In the general use compartment. We are committed to providing a safe, fair, high-quality experience for people who love everything Kenai Refuge has to offer.

Announcement and opportunity for public comment:
Proposed changes to Kenai Refuge recreation site fees for summer 2024

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing to increase overnight fees for front-country summer camp sites and public use cabins in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The fee increases will be effective May 25, 2024, the first day of Memorial Day weekend. This proposal includes an increase of $5 per night for campsites and $10 per night for cabins. Additionally, a selection of campsites at Hidden Lake Campground will become available for online reservations only and will include a $10 reservation fee.

The proposed changes are necessary for Kenai Refuge to continue to provide high-quality visitor services and programs to the local community and the hundreds of thousands of visitors who enjoy the refuge annually. All other refugee camps not currently included in the fee system will remain free.

Public participation is an important part of the refuge planning process. The Service invites public comments and questions about these proposed changes through October 20, 2023. Feedback can be submitted in one of the following ways:

● Send an email to with the subject line: Proposed Recreation Fee Changes;

● Hard copy via U.S. mail or hand delivered to: Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Refuge Manager’s Office, PO Box 2139, Soldotna, AK 99669

Interior view of a public-use cabin in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

Entertainment sites with proposed fee change

Hidden Lake Camp

Summer camp fees for all campsites will increase from $10 to $15 per night at Hidden Lake Campground.

The Skyview Loop (Campsites 1-25) at Hidden Lake Campground will become reservation only and available for online reservations. A $10 reservation fee will be charged per reservation to reserve these campsites in addition to the overnight fee.

Skilak upper camp

Summer camp fees for campsites at Upper Skilak Campground will increase from $10 to $15 per night.

Entrance sites at Upper Skilak Campground will increase from $5 to $10 per night.

Both camps:

All campsites at Upper Skilak Campground and in the Lake Loop (Campsites 1-6) and Ridge Loop (Campsites 1-12) of Hidden Lake Campground will remain first come first serve for visitors who have not reserved sites.

General use cabins:

General use cabin rentals will increase from $35.00 to $45.00 per night for historic cabins, and from $45.00 to $55.00 per night for contemporary cabins.

Historic cabins: Big Bay, Big Indian Creek, Caribou Lake, Doroshin Bay, Norse, Pipe Creek, and Vogel Lake.

Contemporary cabins: Dolly Varden, Engineer Lake, Kelly Lake, McLean Lake, Pincher Creek, Snug Lake, Upper Omer Lake.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Why do some recreational sites at the refuge charge fees?

A: The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) is legislation that allows federal public land agencies to collect facility fees. This law allows refugees like Kenai to keep more than 80% of the fees collected to use on projects that directly enhance the experience of asylum visitors; The remaining 20% ​​benefits visitor facilities throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System. While the refuge’s core operations are funded through direct appropriations from Congress, recreational use fees collected at the refuge are used to support new visitor service projects and ongoing maintenance of the refuge’s recreational facilities.

Q: Why do you propose increasing entertainment fees?

A: The proposed fee increases are necessary for Kenai Refuge to maintain quality services for recreational users while increasing public visitation and facility expenses. These fees have not changed in more than two decades, and this modest increase will ensure that visitors can continue to enjoy well-maintained campgrounds, cabins, trails and other recreational facilities.

Q: How did the asylum decide on these fee increases?

C. These proposed campground and cabin fee increases are based on comparable fees for similar services at nearby campgrounds, with an eye toward keeping fees as low as possible while still meeting maintenance needs and improvements to recreation facilities. A cost comparison shows that even after the proposed increases, the shelter will still have the lowest fees compared to nearby campgrounds and federal cabin rental rates.

s. Are there any proposed changes to campsites that are not currently included in the fee system? Is there a fee to enter the shelter?

A: No, all other refugee camp places not included in the fee system will remain free on a first-come, first-served basis. Kenai Refuge does not charge an entrance fee and has not proposed doing so.

Q: What are examples of previous projects funded by recreation fees on the Kenai Refuge?

As a visitor to the refuge, you may have noticed some of these improvements, either partially or fully supported by recreational fees:

  • Installing and maintaining multiple latrines in the shelter and in the camps.
  • Installation and maintenance of eco-friendly composting toilets in shelter cabins.
  • Hiking Trail Repairs and Improvements: Many hiking trail repair projects have been funded through recreation fee funds, such as repairing washed-out portions of trails, installing bridges, and volunteer groups managing trail projects.
  • Bear Management: Camp fees help keep bears wild at the Kenai Refuge, thanks in part to dollar fees! Dumpsters, recycling bins and dumpsters are heavy-duty and contracted for timely disposal.
  • Kenai Refuge has increased the number of camp hosts, volunteers and services to manage and improve our visitors’ experience. Volunteers help with public outreach, guided hikes and messaging to improve food storage and reduce bear-human encounters.
  • Recreation fees are used for summer training staff that provides information about the refuge and environmental education programs to the public.
  • Installing light-penetrating ladders and improving habitat at the confluence of the Russian River and Kenai River.
  • Planning and site improvements for Jim’s Landing boat ramp on the upper Kenai River were supported in part by the refuge’s recreation funds.

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