Higher Entry Fees Proposed for 17 'Highly Visited' National Parks

The National Park Service said the proposed new fee structure would boost national park revenue by $70 million per year, a 34 percent increase from the $200 million collected in fiscal year 2016.

The National Park Service is considering raising its fees for visitors at 17 national parks during peak seasons, which would be defined as each park's busiest contiguous five-month period of visitation. During that peak season, the entrance fee would be $70 for each private, non-commercial vehicle; $50 per motorcycle; and $30 per person on bike or foot. NPS also is proposing entry and permit fee adjustments for commercial tour operators, with increased entry fees for commercial operators and standardized commercial use authorization requirements for road-based commercial tours, including application and management fees. The agency is accepting comments on the proposals from Oct. 24 to Nov. 23 on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commercialtourrequirements. Written comments can be sent to National Park Service, Recreation Fee Program, 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.

NPS said 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; in Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah National Parks with peak season starting on June 1, 2018; and in Joshua Tree National Park "as soon as practicable in 2018."

It estimates national park revenue would grow as a result by $70 million per year, a 34 percent increase from the $200 million collected in fiscal year 2016. Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, 80 percent of an entrance fee stays with the park where it is collected, while the other 20 percent is spent on projects in other national parks.

"The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration," U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said. "Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the amazing destinations they are visiting. We need to have the 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. Shoring up our parks' aging infrastructure will do that."

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