Even enjoying nature comes with a fee these days. And for Booz Allen Hamilton, the consulting company that runs the recreational website people use to book campsites and permits for exploring public lands, those fees pay off big time.
Per documents filed with the government and viewed this week by the Wall Street Journal, the company invoiced the U.S. government for an estimated $140 million in incurred fees from travelers spanning October 2018 to November 2022.
The premise is simple — when adventurers apply for a parking permit, visitor’s pass, or book a campsite on Recreation.gov, they incur a small processing fee — which then goes to Booz Allen. The company also runs a call center for the government as well as an internal mobile app.
The news comes as Booz Allen seeks to renew its five-year contract with the government—the original deal had estimated they’d receive roughly $182 million in fees over 10 years.
According to data obtained by WSJ, Recreation.gov saw around 10 million reservations in 2022, which was about 6.2 million more than the year prior.
A spike in outdoor activities brought on by the pandemic is thought to be the main factor in the uptick.
The government said it made more in revenue using Booz Allen’s fee than it would have without it and that competing bids from other consulting companies were higher, the outlet noted.