Comment period extended on proposed national park fee increase

23 November, 2017, 02:01 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Interior proposes raising fees at popular national parks

The peak season entrance fee for a seven-day pass to each park would be $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person on bike or foot.

Most of the 17 sites are in the West, including Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion and Mount Rainier.

The deadline was originally set for Thursday, but on Tuesday the comment period was extended to December 22. The fee increase was expected to raise about $70 million a year.

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NPS's Washington-centric approach, announcing the proposed fees for 17 parks without any detailed analysis or prior outreach to impacted communities and setting a short comment period that includes major holidays, is created to minimize input from the American public to whom the national parks belong. "It's a cruel deception for millions of hardworking families". In a government letter signed by all 11 attorney generals, they state that the national park services have not given a reasoned explanation for the proposed fee increase. Individual entrance fees would go from today's cost of $10 to $15, to $30. More than 65,000 comments already have been submitted.

The parks impacted include some of the busiest and most popular in the nation.

Fees have always been an important source of revenue used to improve the visitor experience and recreation opportunities in national parks and on other federal lands. "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 incredible destinations they are visiting".

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"Our national parks belong to all of us, but the solution can not be pricing some visitors out of them", she continued.

Rep. Jared Polis, who is also running for Colorado governor in 2018, released a statement on Tuesday saying that the propose fee increase is "outrageous and is a back door effort to cut us off from our public lands". They also argue that the raised revenue from this round of fee hikes systemwide is not enough to make a dent in the maintenance backlog.

The admission hike would start in Joshua Tree National Park as soon as practicable in 2018.

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