17 national parks could see fee increases, including Denali

Share

Entrance fees at several national parks, including Yellowstone were raised in 2015 - they've remained the same since - but the price jump didn't seem to deter visitors.

The administration's plan, announced Tuesday, calls for higher fees per vehicle - which are good for a week - during peak periods at "highly visited" national parks.

The increased fees would apply at 17 national parks across the country, including Grand Canyon National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

Visitors to the Grand Canyon and other parks would be charged $70 per vehicle, up from the current $30 fee.

A public comment period on the proposed fee increases began yesterday and ends November 23.

Higher fees would likely lessen congestion, too, and possibly spread those visits out through the year.

"The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration", Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement.

The peak season fees could raise national park revenue by $70 million per year, Zinke said.

These proposed fee increases go against a central value of the park service - ensuring that all Americans have access to some of their country's most special places.

There is no proposed fee increase for the annual pass for the whole park system, but those for specific parks will increase.

The National Park Service is also proposing entry and permit fee adjustments for commercial tour operators.

What: These are the 17 national parks being considered for entrance-fee increases during peak visitor months in 2018. The park service said Tuesday it plans on hiking up the cost of 17 of its parks to $70 per vehicle- nearly tripling the current costs of about $25 starting in 2018. The cost for people biking and entering the park on foot would double to $30, from the current rate of $15 to $20. Federal law requires that 80 percent of all entrance fees collected at a national park be spent on maintenance at that park.

That's a lot of money for what the NPS says is essential repairs to infrastructure around the park service. An annual pass now costs $60.

The park service said the fee increase, which would be applied during the parks' five busiest months, is necessary to address a backlog of maintenance and infrastructure projects.

"We do have some concerns about pricing out lower income families and people so we're hoping we can discuss those concerns and come to a good resolution", Monch said.

"Our national parks are something that are treasured in our nation and at 70 bucks per auto you are leaving people out of the ability to enjoy our national parks", says Khan.

This year, Glacier National Park set attendance records with 3.3 million visitors through the end of September.

"If people are priced out of that market, how long will that desire and dedication to preserving national parks be in the ethos of the American people?"

Share