Zinke's Interior Department Proposes Dramatically Raising National Park Entrance Fees

2012 of a “Bull Elk bugling at Rocky Mountain National Park.”

2012 of a “Bull Elk bugling at Rocky Mountain National Park.”

Prices will increase at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks beginning May 1. The cost of an annual pass to Acadia will increase from $50 to $75.

The move "would generate badly needed revenue for improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks", including roads, campgrounds and visitor centers, NPS said in a release Tuesday.

At Acadia, which consistently ranks among the top 10 most-visited national parks, the "peak visitor season" would stretch from June 1 to October 31.

The large fee increase proposal offers a very brief 30-day public comment period. Some are concerned the new fees could keep potential visitors from the parks.

If you think paying $70 to breathe fresh air, climb spectacular rocks, and catch a glimpse of the brightest stars within a two-hour drive of Los Angeles is outrageous, then the National Park Service wants to hear from you. Theresa Pierno, president and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association, said, "We should not increase fees to such a degree as to make these places - protected for all Americans to experience - unaffordable for some families to visit".

"We need to have a vision to look at the future of our parks and take action in order to ensure that our grandkids' grandkids will have the same if not better experience than we have today", said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in a statement.

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"National parks are meant to be affordable so middle-class families can enjoy America's most spectacular natural beauty", said Sen.

While acknowledging the backlog in maintenance projects, Poliquin said he plans to discuss the matter with the park service in hopes it can find a solution that "will not disrupt the attraction to Acadia that the region relies on, and can ensure that ME families are able to still visit Acadia without a burdensome financial cost".

Opponents say the proposal would hit minority groups particularly hard. In fact, since fees began going up in 2015, park attendance has been on the rise, setting new records at several parks around the country. "Shoring up our parks' aging infrastructure will do that".

Olson also said the park service is encouraging people to submit official comments on the proposal, instead of just commenting on social media. Almost 6 million people visited the Grand Canyon previous year. "This is a great way to decrease diversity in the national parks".

Pass holders - such as the America the handsome national parks and federal recreational lands pass or senior pass - would not be affected by the fee hike.

However, many Montanans are angry about the increase saying it will make the parks less accessible for locals and the funding to fix parks should come from Congress.

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