Reclamation to Charge for Glen Canyon Dam Tours in 2009 -- Fees to Offset Increased Program Costs

Media Contact: Barry Wirth, (801) 524-3774

For Release: October 08, 2008

Starting January 5, 2009, the Bureau of Reclamation will charge visitors taking the guided tour into Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell in an effort to offset increased costs. While the Carl Hayden Visitor Center is jointly operated by Reclamation and the National Park Service, the guided tours of the dam are Reclamation's responsibility. Costs associated with the tour, including guides, display upkeep and security related to public access inside the power plant continue to escalate each year.

While implementation of a fee program will only recoup a small percentage of costs, it is necessary to help offset increased costs associated with public visitation to the visitor center. Expenses at Glen Canyon Dam, including visitor services, operation and maintenance costs, are currently repaid through the sale of hydropower.

Entrance into the dam's Carl Hayden Visitor Center will remain free, but the tours, which last about one-hour, will have a maximum adult fee of $5, with reduced fees for senior citizens, children, military, and school groups. Tours are typically limited to 20 people at a time to provide the best opportunity to see the features and to interact with the guides.

Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, visitation significantly dropped, mirroring reductions in the overall recreation and travel industry. However, since 2004 there has been steady growth with nearly 370-thousand visits last year. Since 1986 (the oldest records Reclamation and the National Park Service have), over 15.4 million people have visited the dam.

Tour participants will discover that Glen Canyon Powerplant is one of the largest hydropower facilities in the country, with a capacity of 1,320 megawatts, producing nearly 5 billion kilowatt-hours annually while serving about 5.8 million customers.

Visitors in 2009 will see work underway to update the original generators that began operation in 1964. One-by-one, the eight units, each weighing nearly 46 tons, will be completely torn down and renovated, with work continuing through 2014. Each upgraded unit will see approximately five percent increase in generation capacity.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.