Shenandoah National Park releases details for Old Rag pilot project
Shenandoah National Park will begin a pilot project designed to improve the visitor experience and protect fragile natural resources at Old Rag, one of the Park’s most popular hiking destinations.
The pilot is intended to help the Park evaluate and possibly adapt to a permanent system in the future. Park management will share its analysis after the one-year trial.
Starting March 1, hikers who wish to use the Old Rag area (Saddle, Ridge, and Ridge Access Trails) will need to obtain a day-use ticket in advance for visits March through November. Ticket availability will be limited to 800 per day. During the one-year pilot, tickets will be $1.
A recent visitor-use and expectations study indicated significant 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 rare ecological communities found on Old Rag.
Hikers must purchase their tickets before arriving via www.recreation.gov. Tickets will not be available at the Old Rag fee station, and there is very little cell phone coverage in the area. 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 and the remaining 400 will be released five days in advance. A day-use ticket does not guarantee a parking spot and entrance fees still apply in addition to the day-use ticket.
Tickets will become available on Feb. 1 at www.recreation.gov.