Rappahannock News

Shenandoah National Park unveils Old Rag ticketing system details


Shenandoah National Park will begin its Old Rag Mountain ticketing pilot project in March in an e ort to control the number of hikers and combat bottleneck­s that can create long waits along narrow corridors of the nearly 10-mile loop trail.

The move is also intended to protect natural resources found atop the mountain, one of the park’s most popular hiking destinatio­ns.

Starting March 1, hikers who wish to hike Old Rag or the surroundin­g area (Saddle, Ridge, and Ridge Access Trails) will need to obtain a day-use ticket in advance for visits in March through November. Ticket availabili­ty will be limited to 800 per day. During the one-year pilot, tickets will be $1, according to a news release from the park system.

The pilot, which has been implemente­d at other national parks, is intended to help the Park evaluate and possibly adapt to a permanent system in the future. Park management will share its analysis a er the one-year trial.

Hikers must purchase their tickets online via www. recreation. gov. before arriving at the park. Tickets will not be available at the Old Rag fee station, and there is very little cell phone coverage in the area to access the internet. Tickets may be purchased up to 30 days in advance and are valid for the day of arrival only.

Although a total of 800 tickets will be available for each day, 400 will be released 30 days in advance for those who wish to plan their hikes ahead and the remaining 400 will become available ve days in advance. A dayuse ticket does not guarantee a parking spot and additional $30 entrance fees still apply. Tickets become available on Feb. 1.

A 2019 study conducted by the park service indicated signi cant crowding and congestion at Old Rag during certain times of the year. The study also revealed that most visitors agree that limiting users would improve their experience and safety, and better protect the ecological communitie­s found on Old Rag.

 ?? KEN MAYER VIA FLICKR ?? Ticket availabili­ty to hike Old Rag will be limited to 800 per day.
KEN MAYER VIA FLICKR Ticket availabili­ty to hike Old Rag will be limited to 800 per day.

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