Skip to main content

Cold cash for visitor fees at Apostle Island ice caves pays off

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

This winter, visitors only had nine days to view the ice caves at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, but a first-time “special recreation permit” fee generated enough money to offset costs for the U.S. Park Service.

The Duluth News Tribune reports numbers released on Monday show the caves attracted 37,800 visitors. With a $5 fee charged for visitors 16 and older, the park collected about $140,000.

It was the first year for the fee, but WDIO said the charge is regarded as "sustainable" by the park service and will be continued in the future.

This embed is invalid

In 2014, the ice caves were open to visitors for more than eight weeks and attracted 138,000 visitors. The attraction’s popularity far outstripped the park’s budget, which led to initiating this year's fee.

A portion of the fees went to the national office for administrative costs, but $134,700 remained for local use. Not including the salaries of year-round staff, this winter's expenses totaled about $95,000, which went to pay for temporary hires, overtime for some regular staff, travel costs for rangers from other parks, and toilet rental and service.

About $21,000 of the surplus has been invested for future seasons, including a “snowbulance” for ice rescues.

The Northland's News Center said that additional revenue will be used for a new entrance sign and the installation of a 42-foot bridge over a deep ravine on the Mainland trail east of Meyers Beach.

Next Up

storm, severe weather, derecho

Hail and tornadoes possible Thursday in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin

Storms are expected to fire along a warm front draped across southern Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2021-04-23 at 8.02.52 AM

Bde Maka Ska pavilion construction begins next week

The former lakeside food stand, home to Lola on the Lake, caught fire in 2019.

Pixabay - laptop computer dark screen

Undercover child sex sting sees 4 men arrested in St. Louis Park

One of the men is being held as he's in a position of authority of power over children.

Owl

New Raptor Center data shows 'substantial drop' in bird flu patients

However, the virus remains a serious health threat for birds.

Screen Shot 2022-05-18 at 6.16.34 PM

Suspect kills himself after shooting woman and baby at Fargo restaurant

The suspect was found dead in a stolen vehicle in Minnesota.

CK Kyle Kasio

Charges: Guest stabbed three men as they slept in Albert Lea

Investigators believe the suspect is related to all three victims.

Kandiyohi County Courthouse

2 charged for fentanyl overdose death of 19-year-old

The-19-year-old died from a fentanyl overdose last month.

storm, severe weather

Severe thunderstorm watch: Hail, 65 mph gusts, tornadoes possible

The watch is just north of the Twin Cities metro area.

Lake Minnetonka

The staggering rise of Minnesota's most famous lakes this spring

Imagine dumping Lake Minnetonka into Lake Superior 47 times.

Marijuana, cannabis

Minnesota Senate shoots down latest marijuana legalization attempt

The bill didn't receive the required votes for further consideration on Wednesday.

tree

Minneapolis wants to use $1M in federal cash to plant 200,000 trees

The goal is to have these trees planted by the year 2040.

Related