Badlands National Park ditches cash for ‘plastic’ payment
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Both of South Dakota’s national parks on this side of the Missouri River have gone cashless.
Last year, Wind Cave National Park transitioned to a cashless system to better manage the revenue from cave tours, camping, and pass sales. At the start of March, Badlands National Park made its entrance fees payable only by card or electronic payment.
They said this change would reduce the time park staff spend managing the cash and increase the revenue available for critical park projects.
“The money that would have gone into processing cash and those non-electronic payments can then be reallocated to other parts of the park operation to improve visitor services and security,” said Badlands National Park chief ranger Kris Salapek. “There is a higher percentage of our fee money that goes back into the park that can be used for differed maintenance projects and other visitors’ services.”
While this switch sounds like it would deter people from attending the parks, according to National Park Services statistics, last year Wind Cave saw a little over 600,000 visitors staying steady with previous years. Devils Tower went cashless two years ago and saw around 480,000 visitors last year, staying steady with the previous year’s tourism numbers.
Visitors who would like to plan ahead can go to recreation.gov to buy entrance passes. For more information about the park, you can go to the Badlands National Park Service website.
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