Zinke Proposes Raising Admission Prices At 'Highly Visited' National Parks

Credit FREDERIC J. BROWN  AFP  Getty Images

Credit FREDERIC J. BROWN AFP Getty Images

In addition to per-vehicle costs, entrance fees for individuals would rise from $12 to $30, while the fee for motorcyclists would jump from $20 to $50 during the peak season.

Prices will increase at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks beginning May 1.

Acadia now charges $25 for a weekly pass and $50 for its annual entrance pass for those vehicles.

More money is needed to pay for national-park maintenance, the park service said in a news release announcing the fee-hike proposal.

At Acadia, which consistently ranks among the top 10 most-visited national parks, the "peak visitor season" would stretch from June 1 to October 31. The public comment period will be open until November 23.

Backers of the new fees mostly cited the need to invest more in parks and saw the payment as a bargain compared to other activities.

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Mr Zinke's move comes at a time when the Trump administration has proposed increasing funding for energy projects on public lands like the Keystone XL and Dakota pipelines, but also slashing the Department of the Interior's budget by 12 per cent.

It expects to raise $70 million a year with the proposal at a time when national parks repeatedly have been breaking visitation records and putting a strain on park resources.

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

"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", Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement.

"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 awesome destinations they are visiting", Sec.

"The solution to our parks' fix needs can not and should not be largely shouldered by its visitors", she said, adding that the administration should work with Congress to address the maintenance backlog.

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Theresa Pierno, president and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association, said the fee hikes would make these popular parks "unaffordable for some families".

In 2016, Acadia reported 3.3 million "visits", up from roughly 2.8 million visits the previous year.

The $80 annual pass that permits entrance into all federal parks would keep the same price tag. "The national parks offer SO MUCH MORE".

These changes would not just affect the Shenandoah National Park, but 16 others as well.

Peter Pereira of Centennial took this photo on September 17, 2012, of a "Bull Elk bugling at Rocky Mountain National Park".

However, many Montanans are angry about the increase saying it will make the parks less accessible for locals and the funding to fix parks should come from Congress.

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