Trump's interior secretary proposes hefty entrance fee hikes at Acadia

Posted October 27, 2017

It could soon cost you almost three times as much to take your family to Crater Lake, Mount Rainier, Olympic and other popular national parks.

Visitors to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion and other parks, would be charged $70 per private vehicle to enter, jumping from the current rates which range from $25 to $30, according to a press release from National Park Services.

The proposed increase will be considered in the coming months following a 30-day public comment period, which opened Tuesday. By law, 80 percent of park fees must be spent at the park where they are collected.

"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.

Admission prices at certain national parks across the country increased in 2015 after a six-year moratorium on fee increases, PBS reported at the time.

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"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". Visitors learn about the pursuit of gold, but the ones we spoke with Wednesday don't see anything golden about paying more for the country's most popular parks. The park service would charge $30 per person on bike or foot.

Over the years, the park service has implemented several initiatives to offer easier access to national parks, including the Every Kid in a Park program which offers free access passes to fourth graders, and the America the attractive pass for seniors - which increased by $10 over the summer.

Interior officials proposed instituting higher peak-season fees at 17 national parks during their busiest five-month periods.

That's why the national park service is proposing a jump in entry fees at Zion, Arches, Canyonlands and Bryce Canyon National Parks, as well as 13 other parks across the county. Increases to fees at Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks will take effect on June 1.

Not all Park Service sites charge entrance fees.

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That's a lot of money for what the NPS says is essential repairs to infrastructure around the park service.

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

The national park service hopes the added revenue will help with maintenance, a growing demand in Utah's parks. An annual pass now costs $60. The public can submit comments here.

In fact, in 2016 NPS had a record-breaking 331 million visits, almost eight per cent more than the year before. Those who value national park visits, regardless of race or income level, will commit to spending $70 to get into a park, González says, but the math isn't so simple for those who aren't enthusiasts.

"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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