Since 1996 the National Park Service has collected over $867 million in recreation fees under an experimental initiative, Recreational Fee Demonstration Program which is now called Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA). Under the trial program, Congress authorized four federal land management agencies, the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service; to charge fees to visitors. Originally authorized for three years, the program had been extended four times and expired on September 30, 2004. Congress has now extended the program to make it permanent.
While eighty percent of the money remains in the park from fees collected by the participating parks, the Director of the National Park Service distributes the remaining twenty percent of the fees collected to special emphasis projects in the parks. Since Channel Islands National Park does not collect any entrance fees, funds for deferred maintenance and visitor service projects comes from this twenty percent.
Below are a few examples of how these fees have been spent at Channel Islands National Park:
- Rehabilitation of the historic Scorpion Ranch house
- Exhibit planning and fabrication for Ventura visitor center
- Exhibit planning and fabrication for Santa Cruz Island visitor
- Printing of park brochures
- Production of new park film
- Design and replacement of new audio visual equipment for theater in Ventura visitor center
- Design and fabrication of new marine life exhibit in Ventura visitor center
- Design and fabrication of new tower exhibits for Ventura visitor center