Press release from the National Park Service:
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site will implement changes to Sandburg Home tours beginning on Oct. 1, 2019. The changes include an increase in the cost of tour tickets; a reduction in tour size from 15 people to 12; and implementation of an online reservation system. To address concerns re: increased tour costs for families, the park will add 5 additional free tour days annually.
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. On October 1, 2019 the new house tour fee will be $8 for adults; and $5 for adults 62 and older, including all pass holders. On October 1, 2020, the house tour fee will be $10, adults; and $6 for adults 62 and older, including all pass holders. House tour tickets for children (aged 15 and under) will remain free of charge. However, children’s tickets reserved online will incur $1 online processing fee. These costs are in line with what other national park units charge for historic house tours and what the National Park Service pays for use of recreation.gov.
All America the Beautiful Interagency Passholders will receive a discount on tour tickets. Groups that visit through a school are eligible for a fee waiver for all students and teachers.
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 fee increase is the first since 2004.
This fee increase proposal was open for public comment from July 1, through August 17. Two public meetings were held, a total of three people attended. Twenty-three comments were received, with 12 of them in support of the increase, 7 against the increase, and 4 containing general comments neither in support nor against. Of those opposed, a common concern was the cost for a family to tour the home. In order to provide more free opportunities for all visitors to enjoy the Sandburg Home, the park is adding five free tour days annually. In 2019: October 17 (park anniversary) and December 28 (Saturday after Christmas during the local school system’s Christmas break). In 2020: January 6 (Carl Sandburg’s birthday); April 11 (first weekend of the local school system’s spring break); and June 13 (the Sandburgs’ wedding anniversary).
These Sandburg-specific free tour dates are in addition to “fee free” days observed annually by the entire national park system. In 2019, the final fee free day for the National Park Service is November 11 (Veterans Day). The National Park Service fee free schedule for 2020 has not been released yet.
Another change taking place on October 1, 2019, is the launch of a new online reservation system at recreation.gov. 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. One dollar ($1) of each adult house tour ticket (walk-in or online) will go towards use of recreation.gov. House tour tickets for children (aged 15 and under) purchased online will incur a $1 online processing fee. In-person, day-of-tour children’s tickets will remain completely free of charge.
Additionally, to reduce crowding and to better protect park resources, house tour size will be adjusted from 15 visitors to 12. The change in tour size is due to visitor complaints about crowded tours and staff concerns about historic resources. Visitors are encouraged to make advance online reservations to ensure they are able to tour the home when it is convenient to them.
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.
“We are confident that these changes will help us continue to provide quality visitor services and access, while also protecting the priceless treasures in the Sandburg Home,” said superintendent Polly Angelakis.
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 www.nps.gov/carl/planyourvisit/parking.htm. For further information please telephone 828-693-4178, or visit our website at: www.nps.gov/carl
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov.