National Park Service Proposes Massive Increase in Entrance Fees

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November 01, 2017Nov 01, 2017

For some outdoor enthusiasts, national parks are places to avoid. But for many Americans, the 58 national parks in our countries are wonderful places set aside to enjoy recreation, draw closer together as a family, and educate kids about nature without sacrificing access to at least some of the accouterments of civilization — like decent restrooms, cellphone signals, ranger-guided tours, and paved roads.

But under a new proposal by the National Park Service, the cost of accessing those amenity-equipped parks may skyrocket. According to the New York Times, entrance fees could more than double.

Currently, it costs $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle, and $15 for bicyclists and people walking in on foot to enter some of the most popular national parks like the Grand Canyon, Glacier, Yosemite, and Yellowstone. Prices are a little cheaper at Acadia and Shenandoah. A few national parks, like Great Smoky Mountains and North Cascades, have no entrance fee.

Under the proposal, though, fees for 17 parks would rise to $70 per vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 for bicyclists and people walking in on foot. The price hike would apply to peak visitor months, which vary per park. Costs for camping and group picnic sites may be boosted as well.

Which parks would be affected? According to The Associated Press, Acadia, Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Joshua Tree, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Shenandoah, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion.

So why is the Trump administration proposing such a massive price increase? The National Park Service says it has $11.3 billion worth of maintenance projects that have been pushed to the back burner for over a year due to lack of federal funding. The Trump administration wants to further reduce that funding.

In other words, the park system is passing its increasing financial burden on to its visitors. In the past, they’ve also relied on donations, volunteers, and revenue from park shops to help cover the cost of maintaining the parks’ natural beauty and their added amenities.

What can you do about this proposal? If you’d like to weigh in, the public has been asked to submit their comments through Nov. 23 via the Park Service’s comments page or through the mail. Send written comments to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.

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