National Parks Call For More Than 100 Percent Increase In Entrance Fees
December 1, 2017
In upcoming years, entrance fees could more than double their current rates at some of the U.S.'s most popular national parks, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Zion. A large backlog of infrastructure and maintenance projects have led to this request by the National Park Service.
Currently priced at around $30 per vehicle, the National Park Service has proposed that entrance fees be raised to $70. These price hikes would occur during peak season from the months of May through September and are estimated to provide an additional $70 million a year in revenue to the parks affected.
This proposition comes at a time when national parks are experiencing record-breaking attendance, putting a strain on park resources. Across all parks, maintenance fees accounting for more than $11 billion dollars have been deferred. However, many believe that maintenance costs should be covered by Congress, not by visitors.
"We've supported increases at the parks; they are a huge value for the price of entrance," Arizona Senior Program Manager Kevin Dahl stated. "But we want to look closely at this and we want local communities to look closely at this to see if it would impact visitation because we don't want to price people out of the parks."
Since opening a public comment period, many have expressed their disapproval of these possible increases. Brittany Motague, Flagstaff, Arizona, resident, said the increase is "completely unreasonable," especially considering those that may make day trips to national parks.
Others such as Erik Schwartz, agree with the increase in costs. "If they have the true justification for that, then I think preserving these lands for future generations is absolutely critical."
The $80 annual pass for federal lands as well as free weekends and holidays are not expected to change at this time.