The National Park Service announced yesterday that it is considering an increase in entrance fees to $70 at 17 of its most popular parks — in some cases tripling the cost.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said that the increase “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.”
While that certainly sounds like a worthy goal, we strongly believe that entrance fees should never be set at levels where people are priced out of enjoying their public lands.
Addressing the effects of decades of systematic underfunding of the land management agencies is important for National Parks — and all of our public lands — and we accept that fees be be appropriate or necessary in some limited circumstances. This fee increase, however, strikes us as unreasonably high, particularly when proposed in conjunction with overall Department of Interior budget cuts to the tune of $1.5 billion and proposals to massively ramp up energy development.
The fee hikes would affect visitors beginning May 1, 2018, at Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion national parks; beginning June 1, 2018 in Acadia, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, and Shenandoah national parks; and “as soon as practicable” in Joshua Tree National Park.
The 30-day comment period on the proposed fee increase ends on November 23, 2017. Please take a moment to let Secretary Zinke know that you believe national parks should remain accessible — and affordable — for all.