Some of the National Park Service’s (NPS) most highly visited national parks, including the Shenandoah Naitonal Park, may experience an increase in entrance fees during peak visitor seasons. So far, over 7,000 people have responded against this proposal by signing this Care2 petition.
The proposed fee hikes would affect 17 national parks over each area’s busiest contiguous five-month period of visitation. The national parks that would be affected include: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks.
The altered entrance fees would total $70 per private, non-commercial vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, $30 per person on bike or foot, and $75 for park-specific annual passes, according to the NPS’s release. Entrance fees would remain free for those under the age of 16 and for those who are holders of Senior, Military, Access, Volunteer, or Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) passes.
In the petition, it reads:
“This new proposal will make it even more difficult for all of us to visit and enjoy our public lands — and will especially prohibit lower-income Americans from visiting the public lands that their tax dollars help maintain.
For years, Congress has underfunded the National Park Service, creating a $1.3 billion backlog in vital repair and infrastructure projects. But regular taxpayers—and especially working families—shouldn't have to bear the burden for lawmakers' inaction.
At Care2, we think our public lands are for everyone—not just those that can afford to these excessive new fees.”
According to a release on the NPS website, the revised fees would be able to generate $70 million in added revenue for improvements to each area’s aging infrastructure, including roads, bridges, bathrooms, and other visitor services.
Through November 23, 2017, public comments will be accepted on the proposal. There are no sessions scheduled for in-person feedback.
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said, “The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration. 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.”
• National Park Service Proposes Targeted Fee Increases at Parks to Address Maintenance Backlog [National Park Service]
• Say No to National Park Fee Hikes [Care2 Petitions]