Public Comments Sought for Proposed House Tour Fees at Carl Sandburg Home NHS

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The National Park Service is seeking public comments for proposed increases to house tour fees at Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. The increases will be the first since 2004.

A 30-day public comment period regarding the proposed increases opened on July 1, 2019 and a public meeting will be held on July 17, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Village of Flat Rock Meeting Room, 110 Village Center Drive, Flat Rock, NC. If approved, the new house tour fee structure would begin on October 1, 2019.

The park currently charges $5 for adults; and $3 for adults aged 62 and older and all pass holders. Children 15 and under are free. As proposed, new house tour fees would be raised incrementally: For tours beginning on or after October 1, 2019, the new costs would be $8 for adults; $5 for adults 62 and older, including all pass holders; Children 15 and under, free. On October 1, 2020, the costs would be: $10, adults; $6 for adults 62 and older, including all pass holders; Children 15 and under, free. These costs are in line with what other national park units charge for historic house tours.

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House tour fees fund interpretive and preservation efforts in the house, including house tours, school programs, and exhibits; as well as curatorial support for the 50,000 museum objects on display in the house. The park doesn’t charge an entrance fee. All other park features, including the goat barn, trails, special events, and performances are free and do not require tickets or reservations.

Additionally, to reduce crowding and to better protect park resources, the agency will adjust the house tour size from 15 visitors to 12. The change in tour size is due to visitor complaints about crowded tours and staff concerns about historic resources. To offset this change, the park will simultaneously implement recreation.gov, an online reservation system. These changes will begin on October 1, 2019.

Starting October 1, visitors will be able to make online house tour reservations up to 90 days in advance. Any tickets not sold in advance via recreation.gov will be available to walk-in visitors on a first-come, first-served basis. The online system will be the only way to make advanced house tour reservations. One dollar ($1) of each house tour ticket (walk-in or online) will go towards use of recreation.gov. The park will continue to offer eight tours per day, with additional tours added during periods of high visitation.

“The current ’first come, first serve’ ticketing system has no option for advanced reservations. This means a long wait for house tours during peak season. Many visitors leave without touring the house,” said Superintendent Polly Angelakis. “Recreation.gov will give visitors more flexibility in choosing tour times that work best for them and help alleviate capacity issues in our parking lots. Having 12 people on a house tour will improve the visitor experience and better protect the treasures in the Sandburg Home.”

Comments about the proposed house tour fee increase can be made online at the NPS Planning, Environmental, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at parkplanning.nps.gov/proposedcarlfeeincrease. Written comments can be also submitted: in person during business hours at the park bookstore in the Sandburg Home or at park headquarters; by mail, to CARL Proposed Fee Increase, c/o Superintendent, Carl Sandburg Home NHS, 81 Carl Sandburg Lane, Flat Rock, N.C. 28731; or by email to [email protected] with the subject line “CARL Proposed House Tour Fee Increase.”

Comments will not be accepted by FAX or in any manner other than those specified above. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted. Before including a personal address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information, anyone providing written comment should be aware their entire comment, including personal information, may be made publicly available at any time. While anyone wishing to comment may ask the National Park Service to withhold their personal identifying information from public review, the National Park Service cannot guarantee it will be able to do so. For more information please visit www.nps.gov/carl.

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is a unit of the National Park Service. The park is located three miles south of Hendersonville off U.S. 225 on Little River Road, and is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Weekdays are less busy than weekends. For parking options, please visit nps.gov/carl/planyourvisit/parking.htm. For further information please telephone 828-6934178, or visit their website at www.nps.gov/carl.