Fees To Enter Popular National Parks Would Skyrocket Under Interior Department Plan

Rocky Mountain National Park

It could soon become a lot more expensive to experience some of the most iconic national parks in the U.S., CNN reports.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today announced extreme increases to entry fee prices at 17 of the most popular National Parks, according to the Associated Press.

The costs for both motorcycles, cyclist and pedestrians would also go up during peak season, which is a five-month time span that differs slightly depending on the park. For California's Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon, as well as such blockbusters as Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon and Glacier, the $70 price would apply May 1 through September 30.

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

Ultimately, whether or not entry fees are raised at the 17 parks, the NPS is celebrating something of a tourism boom.

The money is "badly needed", the agency says, and would be used for "improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks".

The NPS estimates that all of these fee increases could increase national park revenue by $70 million per year, which is a 34 percent increase from the $200 million collected in Fiscal Year 2016.

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.

It would cost an additional $30 for a motorcycle and $20 for an individual.

Flagstaff resident Brittany Montague said the proposed increase is "completely unreasonable", especially for young families and those making a day trip to national parks.

Under the plan, entrance fees during peak season (a.k.a. the busiest months of the year) at 17 parks could more than double - yes, you heard that right.

Outside of peak season, the fee would revert to its current level: $25 to $30 per vehicle.

"We are always open to peoples' ideas on how we can take care of the resources - the infrastructure as well as the parks themselves - to better serve the visitors", Olson said.

"We should be encouraging more people to get outdoors and enjoy our great natural wonders instead of discouraging them by raising park entrance fees". The cost of the annual pass that lets visitors into all national parks and federal lands would remain unchanged at $80.

The new fee schedule would establish a $70-per-car peak season fee for the parks.

The public comment period will close on November 23. The park counted 1.4 million visitors past year. "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".

"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?"

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