The Grand Portage National Monument will no longer participate in the National Park Service’s Fee Collection Program, according to Superintendent Timothy Cochrane.
“We are very pleased to be able to offer our neighbors and all visitors the opportunity to visit us without charge. In these tough economic times, it made little sense to charge fees that kept visitors from coming. Our income from fees in the past did not significantly offset the cost of staff time and administrative steps to run the program. Nor was raising the price of our entry fee the right decision to make if it meant fewer people could enjoy the monument and its personalized interpretation. Instead, we want to continue to offer access to one of the most unique national park units in this part of the country.”
This change will allow those who wish to visit the monument, which features the historic Grand Portage Trail, historic depot area, and recently opened Heritage Center, to do so free of charge for the first time in decades. For those who haven’t visited in some time, there is a full array of interactive exhibits in the heritage center along with a special exhibit featuring works by the late Raymond Duhaime, elder craftsman from Grand Portage. Duhaime’s work is highly creative, using traditional craft materials and styles in beadwork, wood, and birchbark. There are also new exhibits in the historic depot area and a wide variety of ranger-led programs available through the summer.
The Heritage Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. The historic depot area will open again for the season on Saturday, May 29, 2010.
As noted above, the national monument will no longer be a designated U.S. Fee Area. Those interested in obtaining passes associated with this program including the “National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass”, “Senior Pass” and “Access Pass” will be able to acquire them at agencies designated as U.S. Fee Areas. In Cook County this includes the USFS Gunflint Ranger Station in Grand Marais (Phone: 218-387-1750) and the USFS Tofte Ranger Station (Phone:218-663 7280). Information and purchasing guidelines for all these federal passes can also be obtained by calling 1-888-ASK USGS, Ext. 1, or via the Internet at http://store.usgs.gov/pass.