Brace For A Big Jump In National Park Entrance Fees

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke moved yesterday to find a way to boost funding to address the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog, proposing to substantially increase park entrance fees during the “high season” for vacations. It’s a move that seemingly would do little to address the backlog, estimated at roughly $12 billion, while hitting families with school students hardest.

“Secretary Zinke would rather take money directly out of the pockets of hardworking Americans instead of coming up with a serious budget proposal for the National Park System,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat. “More than doubling the vehicle entrance fee at Grand Canyon, as this proposal would do, or any other park is not a sustainable funding strategy. We should be encouraging more people to get outdoors and enjoy our great natural wonders instead of discouraging them by raising park entrance fees. Whether it’s healthcare, tax cuts, or now access to our national parks, the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress just don’t seem to care about everyday American families.”

Under the fee proposal laid out in a press release, “entrance fees would be established at 17 national parks. The peak season for each park would be defined as its busiest contiguous five-month period of visitation.”

During the peak season, the release explained, a seven-day-long “entrance fee would be $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person on bike or foot. A park-specific annual pass for any of the 17 parks would be available for $75.”

Parks to be affected by these rates, if approved, are “Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion national parks with peak season starting on May 1, 2018; in Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks with peak season starting on June 1, 2018; and in Joshua Tree National Park as soon as practicable in 2018.”

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