Shenandoah National Park collecting data on effectiveness of Old Rag ticket program

Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 6:02 PM EST
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - November ended the pilot ticketing program for the Old Rag hiking trail at Shenandoah National Park.

The park began ticketing the trail in March to address congestion and visitor safety in the area. Now it is looking at how effective the program was.

Shenandoah National Park said it will spend the next few months collecting data it got from the ticketing program and have public comment periods to see if the program will continue.

”We hope to evaluate that and release some of that data and go through another public comment period so we can get the feedback of maybe those people who hiked and what they thought about their experience,” Claire Comer, interpretive specialist for Shenandoah National Park, said.

However, it doesn’t seem as though the pilot ticketing program steered too many hikers away.

“We had about 100,000 people, just under 100,000 people, purchase tickets during the pilot time,” Comer said.

She said although numbers were high it was too early to tell if the ticketing program was successful or not.

“It’s too early to be able to evaluate that data,” Comer said. “We had a number of sold-out dates we also had a significant number of above 700 dates, so it’s just really too soon to know what that data indicates.”

There are issues already on the park’s radar to address for next season if they continue with the ticketing program at Old Rag.

“We’re concerned that there’s no connectivity in that area so we’re working on a solution for that because that makes it so that people can’t buy a ticket on-site,” Comer said. “If they get there and there are tickets available, it was difficult for them to get a ticket.