The U.S. Department of the Interior is proposing to double or almost triple the price of admission during peak season to 17 of the most popular United States national parks.
Starting in 2018, the cost of a 7-day car pass would increase from $25 or $30, depending on the park, up to $70.
The proposed new fee structure would be implemented at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks with peak season starting on May 1, 2018.
The price increase would occur in Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks with peak season starting on June 1, 2018.
The admission hike would start in Joshua Tree National Park as soon as practicable in 2018.
Emily Douce, director of budget and appropriations for the National Parks Conservation Association said, “we haven’t seen this high of a jump in fees with very little time for the public to comment on what this means to their local economies, and what this means to their businesses or their visitation.”
The general public has until Thanksgiving Day to provide their input, on that day the 30-day public comment period ends.
People wanting to weigh in can go to NPCA.org/fees for a link to the comment page.
There is $11.3 billion in deferred maintenance at the parks and the fee increase is estimated to raise about $70 million a year.
Douce said that is not enough to keep the backlog of repairs from growing and that many low-income families will no longer be able to afford to visit the 17 parks.
Douce stresses,”for the Trump administration to come out with an annual budget proposal to Congress and it having a 13 percent cut to our national parks, and then turn around and ask the people to pay more money to get into their national parks, is troubling,”
The annual America the Beautiful pass will still cost $80.
That pass gets you into all the parks, national monuments and other federal lands that charge fees.
Parks supporters are urging Congress to consider the National Park Service Legacy Act, which would establish long-term funding for repairing parks.