Rates at some National Parks would double under this proposal.
In an attempt to make up billions of dollars in deferred maintenance, the National Park Service announced it will be seeking to increase entrance fees at the most heavily trafficked parks in America.
The rate change would impact 17 popular destinations including Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. Peak-season visitors to the impacted parks could expect to pay more than double the current rates.
"The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration," U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in a release from the NPS. "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."
The NPS believes that, if implemented, the rate increase "would generate badly needed revenue for improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks. This includes roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms and other visitor services."
According to the release, if implemented, estimates suggest that the peak-season price structure could increase national park revenue by $70 million per year. That's a 34-percent increase over the $200 million collected in Fiscal Year 2016. Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, 80 percent of an entrance fee remains in the park where it's collected. The other 20 percent is spent on projects in other national parks.
A public comment period on the proposal is open until Nov. 23, 2017, on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website. You can send written comments to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.