Fees Could Double or Triple at Many National Parks in 2018
Nov 20, 2017 09:08AM ● Published by Pamela Johnson
The public only has until Thursday - Thanksgiving Day - to put in its 2 cents worth, because that's when the 30-day public comment period ends.
Emily Douce, director of budget and appropriations for the National Parks Conservation Association, says past increases were minimal, and officials held two years of deliberations and public meetings.
"We haven't seen this before," she states. "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 administration says this is the best way to make progress on the $11.3 billion in deferred maintenance at the parks. However, the fee increase will raise about $70 million a year, which Douce says isn't even enough to keep the backlog of repairs from growing.
People wanting to weigh in can go to NPCA.org/fees for a link to the comment page.
Douce says the price increase will mean many low-income families will no longer be able to afford to visit national treasures such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Rocky Mountain, Sequoia and Kings Canyon and Zion national parks.
"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," Douce stresses.
The price of an annual America the Beautiful pass would stay the same at $80. That's the one that 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 the parks.