Starting next month, those visiting Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park will have to pay to park there.
The 2,965-acre park, popular for its trails, views and Civil War history, will implement a $5 fee for visitors at all park parking lots Nov. 13, officials announced Tuesday.
Those who frequent Kennesaw Mountain can purchase an annual pass for $40. Federal passes that work at all national parks will also be accepted, authorities said.
Visitors can purchase passes online starting Nov. 8, or at the park’s Visitor Center beginning Nov. 13, the announcement said.
The facility, which hosts about 2.6 million people annually, has 10 parking lots with a total of 560 parking spaces.
Nancy Walther, the park’s superintendent, told Channel 2 Action News the fee will contribute to maintenance of the park.
It also will contribute to the addition of a second shuttle bus that takes visitors to the top of the mountain, Walther said. The current bus runs on weekends and holidays when the road to the top of the mountain is closed to visitor cars. Adding the second bus will help the park permanently close to road to visitor cars, according to Walther.
“When you mix vehicles, pedestrians, runners, bicyclists, baby strollers and bird watchers and you put them all on that mountain road,” it is a safety concern, Walther told the news station.
Michael Tuttle, a frequent visitor to the park, said he hikes there at least twice a week, according to Channel 2. Concerning the cashless fee, he said, “that’s money well spent.”
Another visitor, Chelsea Liles, said, “I will pay for it, but I probably won’t come here as often if I have to pay for my parking.”
Only one of the metro area’s three other national parks has a similar policy. Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area has a $5 parking charge based on an honors system, Channel 2 reported.
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