Entrance fees to some national parks could more than double.
The U.S. national parks system is one of our greatest treasures, and in 2018 it looks like you’ll have to pay a little more to experience it.
The National Park Service has proposed a measure that will more than double the entrance fees at 17 popular national parks, CNN reported. Grand Canyon National Park, Yosemite, and Yellowstone are all included.
The agency's proposal would increase the entrance fee for a private vehicle from about $25 to $70 during peak season. An entrance pass for a motorcycle would increase from $15 to $50, while the cost of a walk-in from a person on foot or on bike would increase from $10 to $30.
There is one silver lining in all this, and that is the fact that an annual pass, which permits people to enter all federal lands and parks, will remain at its current price point of $80.
The increases in entrance fees would go toward improving infrastructure, including roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines and bathrooms, according to a memo put out by NPS.
“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 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 amazing destinations they are visiting.”
Zink further noted that the NPS needs to take action for the future of national parks 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.”
However, not everyone sees the value in greatly increasing park entrance fees, which could cause some would-be visitors to change their plans.
“We should not increase fees to such a degree as to make these places – protected for all Americans to experience — unaffordable for some families to visit,” Theresa Pierno, CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association, said in a statement. “The solution to our parks’ repair needs cannot and should not be largely shouldered by its visitors.”
Instead of hiking rates, Pierno said, the government should consider the National Park Service Legacy Act, which is currently up for consideration in Congress.
“A proposal before Congress now, the National Park Service Legacy Act, would establish a more substantial and sustainable investment in our parks,” she said. “The administration should urge Congress to put this bill on the president’s desk and pass a budget that puts more money, not less, into our national parks.”
If the proposed rate increase passes visitors will have to pay more at 118 of the 417 national parks and sites across the U.S.