National Park Service Proposes Hefty Increases to Entrance Fees

The National Park Service (NPS) is proposing a hefty increase to entrance fees during the peak seasons at 17 national parks—including world-class climbing destinations like Mount Rainier, Grand Teton, Joshua Tree, Acadia, Shenandoah, Zion, Rocky Mountain, and Yosemite.

Acadia National Park | Photo courtesy of Elodie Saracco

According to the NPS, the proposed changes for the peak season (the five months of highest visitation) 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.” These are per-visit prices, the length of which is defined by individual parks (usually between 1 and 7 days). The cost of the annual America the Beautiful Pass, which provides entrance to all federal lands, including parks for a one-year period, would remain $80.

Interior Secretary Zinke supports large budget cuts to the National Park Service, despite the fact that NPS has more than $11 billion in maintenance backlogs for park infrastructure. Zinke stated that “Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity.”

But increasing entrance fees by up to 350% means that many Americans could no longer afford to visit their national parks. Furthermore, the proposed entrance fee hikes are only estimated to generate an additional $70 million dollars per year, which isn't nearly enough to make a significant dent in the national park system’s growing maintenance backlog.

Instead of burdening national park visitors with exorbitant fees during peak seasons, Access Fund encourages Congress to legislate appropriate long-term funding for the National Park Service (passing the National Park Service Legacy Act would be a good start) and other land management agencies. Passing the buck to park visitors in such a dramatic way isn’t the answer. National Parks are owned by all of us, and all Americans deserve equal access.

Tell the NPS How You Feel About Fee Increases

The National Park Service is accepting input on these proposed fee increases through December 22nd. Click Comment Now to leave your thoughts.
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